Deforestation for subsistence agriculture is common in many parts of the tropics, whether for the creation of permanent agricultural land, or as part of a swidden agricultural system. While some swidden systems are sustainable, global population growth means that net deforestation for subsistence agriculture continues to fragment and reduce tropical forest areas. However, reducing the impacts of subsistence agriculture requires providing alternative livelihoods, or increasing the efficiency and sustainability of crop production on already cleared lands.
Ecologic Development Fund, working with Fundacion Parque Nacional Pico Bonito, developed the Pico Bonito project to reduce and reverse deforestation in the buffer zone of Pico Bonito Project through implementation of conservation measures, combined with intensive reforestation of existing cleared areas. The reforestation provided both immediate jobs growing, planting and tending the trees, as well as long term economic benefits from timber production, potentially combined with non-timber forest products.
Brinkman Earth Systems, working with its sister organization BARCA, developed a management plan for the reforestation project. As well, Brinkman Earth Systems completed a baseline analysis and project document, estimating both the REDD and A/R carbon benefits of the project. Due to the complexity of the terrain, as well as the number of relevant drivers of deforestation, development of the baseline required custom remote sensing analysis, as well as the development of project specific multi-factorial deforestation risk modeling algorithms.