We believe that the introduction of new approaches to land use needs to be done as part of a broader and integrated plan for a community. It would make little sense for a community to plant an agroforest plot unless they had considered the costs and long-term benefits of doing so. The reason for this is that at several stages in the process there will be challenges and decisions to be taken that will need require the community to remain motivated and able to evaluate the pros and cons of persisting with the system or abandoning it. Given the general lack of success of previous agroforest initiatives elsewhere we feel that this will be the key to our success. As part of our efforts to strengthen the impact of our Forest Futures project and with the support of the innocent Foundation, our main partners Herencia, have been working with three Amazonian communities: Remanzo, Jerico, Monte Sinai, to develop medium to long-term management plans into which agroforest for fruit and annual crops will be integrated.
Developing community management plans involves a series of two-day workshops within a community. The first phase involves mapping the resources and assets of the community, identifying long-term aspirations and the risks that it could face. Once this orientation phase is completed then, together with Herencia, the community can discuss how to meet their aspirations, identify the resources that are available to them from the municipal, department, and start and produce a workplan that incorporates the risks. Once this plan is produced its merits, risks and details need to be discussed and revised until there is broad agreement within the community. Only after this stage can the final version be formally put before the community, voted on and then signed off by the Community President as a legal Act. This then gives us the foundation to start our work of producing seed nurseries and planting agroforest.