Limay Nicaragua Annual Report and Progress

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Most of the 2012 annual reports for COTAP’s 4 portfolio projects are still coming in or are still under review by the Plan Vivo Foundation. The first report to be released is for the Limay Community Carbon Project in Nicaragua, which is now posted on its COTAP project page and downloadable here (2.7 MB).

2012 Summary, Plans for 2013, and COTAP’s transactions

In 2012, the project was able to work with 63 new farming families to plant over 310,000 trees in the rural communities of San Juan de Limay, Nicaragua. This brings the Limay project’s grand total to 509,000 trees which will sequester over 112,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere!  Over $400,000 has now been added to the community fund for participating farming families’ ecosystem service payments for meeting tree growth and survival targets.

The project plans to plant approximately 417,000 trees by June 2013, which will bring the cumulative total to 926,000!  Further, the project’s poverty alleviation impact is also expected to grow by 23 communities and 123 families, for totals of 47 communities and 259 families.

Last but not least of the super-exciting developments in the annual report: the project has a new buyer called COTAP!  Cotappers offset 359 tonnes of their emissions to Limay’s 2012 planting season, and so far they’ve offset 422 tonnes to the 2013 season!

Summary of the Limay project’s 3-year growth

Limay Stats Through 2012

Expanded project boundary and Google Earth view

Early in 2012, the project’s boundary was expanded to include the entire municipality of San Juan de Limay, covering an area of 485.8 square kilometers. This process involved hiring four temporary technicians to conduct a thorough biomass survey of the land using Android tablets. With this information, the staff was able to estimate the amount of carbon stored in the landscape in order to calculate the carbon baseline for this new area.

To see the Limay project’s plantings and farmers using the interactive map below, click on the individual land plots in the embedded Google Earth map. Colors represent different planting years.

New silvopastoral planting methodology added in 2012

In 2012, the project introduced a new technical specification involving the planting and intensive management of multi-purposed, mixed tree species within cattle pastures, which is called a silvopastoral planting system. The selected species are commonly found within the municipality of Limay and are native to the region. Once the seedlings have established themselves, improved pasture seeds are sown throughout the pasture to augment the number of cattle the land can support. This silvopastoral planting design sequesters carbon dioxide, provides ecosystem services in the short run, and sustainably produced highly prized timber in the long run. Additionally, the system provides additional services such as improving the pasture below the trees and adding biomass to the soil.

Testing out a new nursery system

As a pilot project, project technicians tested out a new nursery system involving reusable plastic ‘tubetes’. These small cones require less soil per seeding and are designed to make transportation easier. The system was moderately successful, but not all the required tools were available, such as stable trays for the tubs. A second trial will be conducted in the coming year with the proper trays to see if this system is viable for implementation across the project.

Using new technology for monitoring and recruitment

New to the project in 2012 was the use of GPS-enabled tablets for monitoring and recruitment. The community technicians have been equipped with these fantastic tools to speed up the monitoring process, eliminate paper waste, and facilitate instant wi-fi transfer of information to a central server. Earlier this spring, technicians took part in a workshop to learn how to use the tablets.

During annual monitoring, technicians take a systematic sample of 10% of the trees to ensure that the right number of trees was planted and that enough carbon is being sequestered. In addition to the 305,760 trees planted in 2012, the technicians also monitored a 10% sample of the 205,200 trees planted in previous years. These new tablets allow for much more precise and efficient processing of this enormous amount of data!

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