Chile: Restoration of Degraded Lands of Small and Medium Farmers through Afforestation and Reforestation

UNFCCC Reference No.: 4957

Context
The interior dyrland area or "Secano Interior" in Chile is characterized by very low productivity and a highly fragmented property structure which has limited the economic development potential of the land owners who continue under a subsistence-level rural agricultural system. However, despite such harsh environmental conditions and degraded soils, these lands can yield better performance through the incorporation of state-of-the-art forestry, which can change the discouraging prospects of the Secano Interior.

The Project

The Restoration of Degraded Lands of Small and Medium Farmers through Afforestation and Reforestation project is bringing about the reforestation and sustainable management of 2,917 hectares of marginal and degraded “Secano Interior” lands in Regions VII and VIII of Chile. The project is implemented by, Fundación Chile, aImage of degraded landscape.  leading not-for-profit organization in the country which is devoted to innovation and technology transfer. Through land-use contracts, small and medium landowners receive annual payments for the use of their lands and 10 percent of revenues at the time of harvest. As a result of the partnerships, the farmers do not assume any costs and risks associated with ongoing forest management and they continue their traditional activities on their remaining higher quality lands.

The principal goals of the project are to: (a) Promote reforestation in the country; (b) Provide an alternative, productive land-use opportunity for small landowners; (c) Implement an innovative benefit-sharing scheme with landowners; (d) Support small landowners in converting part of their landholdings into planted forests, thus allowing them to retain their property rights; (e) Reverse and control soil erosion and degradation through planting; (f) Enhance biodiversity values as well as the livelihood of local landholders; and (g) Sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Environmental Benefits 

The project is promoting reforestation in the country, as well as helping to reverse and control soil erosion and degradation through planting. Through reforestation, the project is enhancing the biodiversity of the Secano Interior and improving the connectivity of landscapes in the region. It is also sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and promoting sustainable management of the new forest resources.

Social and Community Benefits

The project is providing an alternative, productive land-use opportunity for small landowners. By implementing an innovative benefit-sharing scheme, small landowners have incentives and support to convert part of their landholdings into planted forests, thus allowing them to retain their property rights. It is improving the incomes and land-use options of small and medium landholders, helping to recover the land productivity of the area planted and enhancing livelihoods. Furthermore, the project is expected to be a replicable experience that would favor a larger number of communities in Central Chile.