For seven years, PROBIOMA-PROBIOTEC has managed to establish a link between agroecology and forest conservation and restoration. This link has become a priority objective after the socio-environmental disaster brought by the 2018-2019 fires in Chiquitanía, in the Bolivian Amazon. Large areas of forestland were burnt and hundred of local communities were devasted: their lifestyles and food supply depended on forests, which provided food, generated water and regulated the climate.
The Covid-19 pandemic worsened an already fragile situation and increased the risk of communities isolating themselves, in order to protect their people from the disease. Under these conditions, PROBIOMA-PROBIOTEC started to support ecological home gardens and forest restoration in the Chiquitanía. The ecological gardens proved to be the best response against the pandemic. It provided locally grown healthy and nutritious food that strengthened their immune system and reduced people moving outside the community. The restoration of the forested areas, however, was still unsolved.
To tackle the issue, PROBIOMA and GreenMarked decided to set up a plant nursery at PROBIOTEC’s agroecological center in San Luis (Santa Cruz de la Sierra) to grow local tree species and transfer them to the Chiquitanía communities. Planting forest species, fruit trees and medicinal plants may recover part of the lost biodiversity and contribute to the long-term wellbeing of the communities. It can also help local producers in recovering and strengthening that traditional vision of forest management and care.