In the Nandamojo river basin, on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica's Guanacaste province, Restoring Our Watershed is working to protect an important ecosystem that has been degraded by decades of misguided land use. A U.S. non-profit, we envision returning the rivers of this valley to year round flow while achieving a sustainable balance between human and natural economies.
Our Bees for Trees program was designed in response to historical, economic and ecological challenges the Nandamojo valley faces. Families who participate are given enough capital to begin producing honey from ten hives. In exchange for their new livelihood, they reforest the 10% of their farm which is most important to watershed health, such as a spring or stream buffer zone. They must also agree to stop using herbicides and pesticides.
ROW supplies new beekeepers with a mix of native species trees to complete the reforestation as well as training in natural honey production. When harvest time comes, we pay a fair price for their honey, accepting loan repayment in product.
We sell the honey in the local marketplace for a small profit, which is used to fund further restoration work and provide new loans. So far, we have three families in the program and it is proving to be very successful. A typical household can increase their income by about one third while only investing about 10% of their time.
What We Need & What You Get
During 2013, we have two goals for the program. First, we hope to support two new families with loans to become beekeepers. Also, we need capital for research and development of Top-Bar hive technology.
All of our producers currently use Langstroth design hives, which are used almost exclusively in our area. The top bar design, however, can be more affordable and easier to manage. This campaign will provide for a trial run of the Top-Bar hive design tested in the same area vs. Langstroth hives.
Money raised through this campaign will be used in the following ways:
- $6,000 will provide capital for two $3,000 loans to two new families.
- $1,600 will be used for a comparative trial of Top-Bar vs. Langstroth hive designs.
This project will deliver a triple bottom line return. With these funds, we will be able to:
- Plant 3,000+ native species trees, representing over seven acres of new forest growth in critical areas. We will include a number of important flowering species in the reforestation mix, supporting native and non-native pollinator populations.
- Provide two families with a new livelihood, representing at least a 30% increase in their household income.
- Create a sustainable revenue stream to support further restoration work
Test the viability and productivity of top bar hives in the Nicoya Peninsula and compare results them with Langstroth hives currently used.
Other Ways You Can Help
Please visit www.ourwatershed.org and sign up for our newsletter to find out more about our project and the Bees for Trees initiative.