Global Forest Generation

United States Placeholder
United States

Name: Global Forest Generation
Country: United States
Year of establishment: 2018
Type of organization: Legally recognized non-profit status

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Global Forest Generation

United States Placeholder
United States

Name: Global Forest Generation
Country: Estados Unidos
Year of establishment:
Type of organization: Legally recognized non-profit status

Share this solution:

Description

Launched in 2018 by Global Forest Generation (GFG) and Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN), Acción Andina is a Latin-American led, forest landscape restoration initiative aiming to protect and restore one million hectares of high Andean, native forest ecosystems in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela over the next 25 years. Specifically, Acción Andina aims to protect 500,000 hectares of remaining native Polylepis forests across the Andes, restore 500,000 hectares of native forest ecosystems, and build local and long-term conservation capacities. Acción Andina’s prime objective is to establish fully-functioning high Andean forest ecosystems in strategic landscapes across the Andes. Trust is a cornerstone of Acción Andina project activities, which represent a holistic approach to ecosystem restoration.

Acción Andina creates a network of grassroots conservation organizations and local communities committed to creating forest ecosystems that endure for generations. Local NGOs or organizations manage conservation projects, implementation, community agreements, funds and long-term relations, providing training to the community leaders and nursery technicians, securing support from authorities and leading the communication of the projects. Significantly, communities in the areas targeted for landscape-level restoration are in agreement that the best and highest value of the targeted, denuded landscapes is to return them to forest and wetlands to provide long-term water and land security. The long-term benefits of this initiative include increased water security, biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration, enhanced livelihoods, and support and protection of cultural and spiritual values.

Nature Element: Forests
Type of Action:
Sustainable Development Element: Water security (SDG 6) , Climate action (SDG 13) , Partnerships (SDG 17) 

Nature Element: Forests
Type of Action:
Sustainable Development Element: Water security (SDG 6) , Climate action (SDG 13) , Partnerships (SDG 17) 

Environmental Impacts

High Andean forests are major contributors to water security for the Andes to the Amazon, climate resiliency, habitat for threatened biodiversity, and valued natural resources for local and indigenous communities. They are critical to building permanent streams and wetlands, as well as carbon-rich soils and ecosystems. They continuously provide freshwater to hundreds of thousands of people in local communities and cities below. In this initiative special emphasis has been placed on reforesting under glaciers where forests serve as an important “green scarf” that slows melting and destructive water runoff.

To date, Acción Andina’s grassroots partners have created new forests for biodiversity and people by planting more than 3.7 million native trees in five Andean countries. AA partnerships have expanded from three on-the-ground implementing organizations in two countries in 2018 to 13 local partners in five countries in 2022. Over 15 local restoration leaders have been provided with training and capacity-building and the initiative has grown from involving 10 communities in collaborative restoration efforts to over 100, with more than 15,000 people actively participating in reforestation activities in 2021. In 2022, Acción Andina project partners aim to grow 2.6 million trees across 18 project landscapes.

Sustainable Development Impacts

SDG 6: This initiative will increase the quantity of drinkable water available and improve water security through the restoration of high Andean, particularly Polylepis, forests which serve as natural water reservoirs and also continuously provide freshwater.

SDG 13: Ecosystem restoration directly helps mitigate climate change through carbon capture and increased land and water security.

SDG 17: The initiative aims to create partnerships with local, regional and national governments to advocate for forest protection, but also with organizations & communities in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela to scale-up local projects and implement restoration activities. In 2019 Acción Andina was recognized by the UN as a nature-based solution to reverse climate change, and is promoted within the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and the World Economic Forum as an inspiring flagship case of successful climate action.

RESILIENCE, ADAPTABILITY, AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY

The COVID-19 pandemic in particular provided a window into how well this model of ecosystem restoration can weather a major challenge. Acción Andina partners responded with meaningful support to communities, as even the most remote Andean villages were not remote enough from COVID-19. For example, Peruvian partners distributed emergency care packages to families and provided information, along with face masks, disinfectant gel and soap, on how to stay healthy. People were more grateful than ever for part-time jobs in the tree nurseries. They provided an important income when many others were lost, further reinforcing the motivation of local communities to invest and engage in forest restoration projects and step by step building a local restoration economy that helps diversify local income.

REDUCED INEQUALITIES

Acción Andina was created to respond to the need of local communities to protect their forests and restore their watersheds with native trees. As a result of decades of conservation and community engagement work by conservation practitioners, communities understand the crucial roles of forests at these altitudes for water and land security. Acción Andina’s 360° approach includes native forest restoration, standing forest conservation, and community development. Native restoration includes establishing native seed community nurseries, producing saplings, training local nursery technicians (primarily women) while developing grassroots leadership capacities to continue restoring forests over the next decades. These activities also serve as an important educational experience that promotes inter-generational collaboration to restore and protect native forests.

Conservation of existing forests through the establishment of protected areas involves titling ancestral indigenous lands and implementing long-term conservation plans by communities. AA partners help communities work with the government to establish and renew these agreements.

Community development involves creating jobs that address drivers of deforestation, while promoting health, and diversifying community income. AA embraces community-based economic structures in which funds are used collectively for general community benefits like school renovation and fees, school buses and solar panels.

GENDER EQUALITY

Acción Andina restoration and community development activities in particular are especially inclusive of women. A majority of community jobs created by AA, such as in nurseries, provide economic opportunities for women, much-needed additional income for families that often live on less than US$ 1.50 per day. AA partners provide training and support in these jobs, not only for native tree propagation for reforestation activities, but also in propagation techniques for native plants that can be used for medicinal purposes, food, or sold to private gardens. Women nursery technicians thus develop new income streams, and have participated in and led workshops for other communities and municipal governments.

Scalability

Acción Andina is a long-term initiative following a phased approach to scaling. From 2019-2024 AA focuses on building a common management infrastructure and capacities and gradually increasing implementation and impact. Subsequent phases will focus on massive scaling, while reducing costs. In terms of funding, AA is exceptional in the amount of project funds annually raised by the partners themselves from diverse local and national sources. Currently, roughly 30% of the total budget is covered by partners. GFG is the principal fundraiser for uncovered portions of the annual budget.

Replicability

The growth potential of AA is significant, with many organizations in the pipeline to join the initiative. GFG and ECOAN are including partners carefully to ensure project quality and to continue strengthening local partner capacities. They take into account constraints posed by local obstacles and existing organizational structures to advance the initiative responsibly and sustainably. They have developed expertise in understanding local organizations’ growth, helping them develop long-term visions and strategies, leadership and governance structures, and efficient financial management.