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.
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
Helping the planet
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
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 firewood.
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.