Mesoamerica: Green growth with nature positive supply chains


Boosting foreign trade in Central America and promoting reforestation at the same time: Nature positive supply chains rely on sustainable and environmentally friendly methods, thus creating a win-win situation for companies and nature alike.

The current phase of the IKI project “Forest Landscape Restoration in Central America and the Caribbean” marks an important turning point in the strategy of the project for the conservation of forest landscapes in Mesoamerica. With an increased focus on nature positive supply chains, the project is pursuing the aim of safeguarding the ongoing existence of these unique ecosystems, together with the private sector. 

The forests of Mesoamerica: unique ecosystems, high level of biodiversity

Biodiversity in Mesoamerica is extremely high. Although this region measures less than 0.5 per cent of the global land area, it accommodates up to 17 percent of all known life forms. The Great Forests of Mesoamerica (GBM) spread over seven countries and comprise a sizeable area that is of great importance for environmental protection and the conservation of carbon reserves. 

Despite their significance, these forests are being destroyed as a result of agricultural activities at an alarming pace, particularly by unregulated cattle farming for export purposes. 

Successes for forest protection 

The successes of the IKI project so far clearly show that the implementation of agroforestry and silvopastoral systems as well as Cash for Work measures to compensate for restoration activities have already had a significant influence on the restoration and protection of forest landscapes in Central America. Over 3,650 land users were actively involved in these activities, while at least 3,540 people were supported by means of financial incentives. 

Focusing on the future: Further development of the IKI project

The new phase of the project consolidates the Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) approach in the Central American region by the integration of public-private initiatives for nature positive supply chains and by the promotion of an effective regulatory and technological environment for production and trade.

The project supports private and public actors in agricultural production areas in the joint implementation of forest landscape restoration and nature positive forms of land use. An additional component of the project is currently in preparation, which will contribute to ensuring that the coffee sector in the region meets the requirements of the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR).
Open-source systems for product traceability are also being promoted, meaning that it should be easier to trace how and where products such as coffee were produced - and whether the production can be labelled as “nature positive”. 

In addition, standards for a digital, public infrastructure are currently being developed to help create the necessary framework conditions for the trading of nature positive products.

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IKI Office
Zukunft – Umwelt – Gesellschaft (ZUG) gGmbH
Stresemannstraße 69-71

10963 Berlin


Keyword: Mesoamerica

The Mesoamerican region comprises large areas of the present-day states of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

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