Verde Ventures recently approved an investment of $150,000 in an innovative reforestation project led by Sociedad Koyam Limitada to establish new forests of native species on degraded lands belonging to the Mapuche Indigenous Peoples in Chile.
Koyam is a joint venture between the Corporación de Desarrollo Mapuche Lonko Kilapang
, a nonprofit group representing the development needs of a number of Mapuche Indigenous communities, and Timberline Gestión de Recursos Naturales Limitada
, a private Canadian company specializing in sustainable natural resource management.
The investment, Verde Ventures’ first reforestation project, has enabled Koyam to work with Pehuenche communities to develop plantations of native species such as the globally threatened Araucaria araucana
, improving corridor restoration efforts by providing an alternative to plantations of exotic species of eucalyptus and pine.
Native species not only help to combat further degradation by using less water, but also support populations of local fauna and flora and provide opportunities for agroforestry (products such as fruit, mushrooms, and honey) and pastoral-forestry activities (woodland grazing).
With the loan from Verde Ventures, Koyam provided landowners with seedlings, fertilizer, fencing materials, training in site preparation and planting techniques, and provided them with much needed employment. This project enables local communities to take advantage of a more sustainable, long-term reforestation program and the possibility of generating carbon credits in the future.
In addition, Koyam also received a grant from the Equator Ventures
collaboration between Verde Ventures and the United Nations Development Program. The grant aims to enable Koyam to strengthen its financial management system and the Mapuche people’s skills and employment capacity.