NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

NCF 6: Indigenous Forest Management for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in Northern La Paz, Bolivia

Photo: Mileniusz Spanowich/WCS
Photo: Ximena Sandy/WCS
Photo: Ximena Sandy/WCS
Photo: Mileniusz Spanowich/WCS
Photo: Mileniusz Spanowich/WCS
This project aims to help indigenous families and farmers diversify their incomes and protect forest ecosystem services. This will be obtained through integrated and sustainable forest management projects related to cacao, coffee and essential oils.

Indigenous Forest Management for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in Northern La Paz, Bolivia

Nordic partner: Nordic Agency for Development and Ecology (NORDECO)
Local partner: Fundación Teko Kavi
Other partner: Wildlife Conservation Society
Total project cost: EUR 517,013
NCF financing: EUR 410,000
Agreement signed: 8 February 2017
Project type: Combination
Duration: 30 months

Project objective
The project aims to assist indigenous people, including women, in protecting forest ecosystem services and diversifying their incomes through integrated and sustainable forest management projects related to cacao, coffee, jatata palm and essential oils, thereby improving their livelihoods and resilience to climate change. Together with the development of an urban constituency for conservation and the creation of national urban markets for green products, the project is aimed at protecting forests in indigenous territories and national parks, contributing to reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Main results/outputs

  • 183 hectares of coffee agroforestry systems established or recovered, and under management (milestone).
  • 46,374 CO2e-t equivalent avoided emissions.
  • 152,672 CO2e-t absorbed in carbon sinks.
  • 87 indigenous coffee producers and their families increase their productivity and income by 30% (baseline 211 kg/ha).
  • 40 families from Carmen del Emero community harvest wild cacao under a sustainable management plan.
  • 2,200 hectares of rainforest with wild cacao groves under improved management.
  • 2,500 hectares of riparian forest with jatata palms under improved management.
  • 53 families of jatata palm producers from seven communities of the association APAI harvest jatata leaves and produce jatata thatches under a management plan.
  • 30 indigenous women increase their income through production of essential oils.
  • 20 post-harvest modules of equipment for coffee acquired.
  • One communication campaign on biodiversity and food security launched in the cities of La Paz and El Alto.
  • 2 agreements signed with the private sector on purchase of coffee, cacao, jatata palm thatches and/or essential oils.


The project is a part of WCS and TEKO-KAVI’s ongoing efforts to develop local climate change mitigation and adaptation options through protection of forests and biodiversity and strengthening of indigenous people’s rights and ways of living in the Greater Madidi Tambopata landscape. The project areas neighbour three protected areas of global conservation importance (Madidi, Pilon Lajas and Apolobamba), covering more than a dozen municipalities and four indigenous lands (Lecos Apolo, Lecos Larecaja, Tacana I and Tsimane Mosetene of Pilon Lajas) in the Department of La Paz in Bolivia.

The project will support mitigation and adaptation to climate change by supporting sustainable livelihoods that represent an alternative to the expansion of the agricultural frontier and breaking the cycle of environmental degradation and poverty. By building on the successful on-the-ground efforts of WCS, the project will establish community-based sustainable agroforestry systems to restore degraded lands and manage natural cacao groves. The project will focus on innovation in post-harvest processing of coffee and cacao, as well as extraction of essential oils.

Specifically, the project supports the establishment of shade coffee, the sustainable management of wild cacao groves, as well as the local capacity of women to produce and sell palm thatches and essential oils.

In parallel, the project will support local livelihoods based on the use of biodiversity for food products by increasing urban awareness and promoting consumption of sustainable biodiversity products. It is therefore important to develop local markets and make a qualitative change in local people’s involvement in conservation efforts through their purchasing choices. Local engagement in conservation efforts is directly related to their land use choices, but urban dwellers have been passive recipients of information. A broader conservation constituency is required to face important challenges arising from encroaching development. 

Relevance for climate change
Indigenous communities are particularly vulnerable to climate change due to their dependence on natural resources and weather and are key stakeholders in protecting forests, reducing deforestation and degradation and ultimately CO2 emissions.

Sustainable extraction of forest resources and the establishment of agroforestry systems are strategies that contribute to enhancing communities’ resilience to climate change. They provide opportunities to promote social learning and contribute to building more resilient societies by diversifying livelihood options and increasing income, resulting in reduced pressure on forest resources, which leads to reduced deforestation.

Climate change affects everyone, but also reinforces existing inequalities. Women and girls are often more vulnerable to climate change by being marginalized and excluded from participating in development initiatives. By empowering indigenous women in different instances of the production chain, the project will contribute to diversification of their livelihoods.

Finally, the development of a communication strategy for urban population groups allows for the establishment of spaces for reflection on the reasons for and impact of climate change and promotes production and consumption of healthy foods.

Innovation aspects
This project will help show that indigenous people’s rights and involvement in sustainable forest management is critical to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Integrated and sustainable forest management in indigenous territories provides a significant reduction of emissions from deforestation and control of environmental risks and is an alternative to ensure integral long-term forest management. On the other hand, an alliance with an urban constituency is needed and will be established through the production of rainforest products through technological innovation in pre- and post-harvest treatments, including certification and quality control.
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