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Women Farmers in Itzapa, Guatemala, and AIRES - Engaged in
Agro-Forestry for the Earth promotes tree planting to sequester carbon and improve farming
techniques, such as preventing erosion, improving yields and increasing crop diversity. The
activity also builds efficient brick stoves with chimneys that reduce both the negative health
impacts caused by smoke inhalation and the need to cut down trees for fuel.
- 4 million trees planted in Guatemala;
- 150,000 trees planted in Itzapa;
- 800 energy efficient stoves built.
The harmful smoke emitted by the use of traditional wood fires for cooking has negative health and
environmental impacts. Not only does it cause lung disease, it also contributes to deforestation.
Deforested mountain slopes cause soil erosion and dangerous mudslides.
Helping the planet
In 1998, a group of women farmers in Itzapa, Guatemala, partnered with AIRES (Alianza Internacional
de Reforestacion) to learn how to farm with trees, in order to prevent soil erosion, mitigate
climate change and improve crop yields and diversity without using dangerous chemicals. The women
farmers planted thousands of native trees each year, trees that are growing and sequestering carbon
into the future.
In addition, the women partnered with AIRES to build fuel‐efficient brick stoves. The stoves
prevent lung disease, burns, and use half the amount of firewood as traditional smoky fires. The
women have continued planting tens of thousands of trees each year since receiving the initial
farmer training from AIRES technicians.
The activity is already seeing positive results with more than 150,000 trees planted in Itzapa, more than
800 energy efficient stoves built in dozens of communities in Guatemala and the reforestation of mountain
slopes of an entire region. The trees planted by the women prevent mudslides and soil erosion, clean the
air, provide shade and sequester carbon, which helps mitigate climate change.
Itzapa, Guatemala, is a town of roughly 40,000 people encircled by farms, in the
south‐central Department of Chimaltenango, Guatemala.
The partnership with AIRES benefits 60 women farmers and their families, but the entire Itzapa
region also benefits from the more than 150,000 trees planted on the mountain slopes and fields
surrounding the town.
The 60 women farmers are leaders of a large tree nursery; they have improved their food crops by
farming with trees; they have created micro‐businesses in order to re‐invest in the
tree nursery; and they have built fuel‐efficient brick stoves to reduce their use of
AIRES has scaled this work up to 130 communities and schools in two Departments of south-central Guatemala:
Chimaltenago and Solola. They have begun to work in a few villages in Sacatepequez.
Images owned by the activity partners, all rights reserved.