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Ancestral knowledge of forest management in the tropical jungle with the use of agroforestry as a tool to fight deforestation and poverty



Peruvian power cocoa trees is an initiative that brings together the ancestral knowledge of forest management in the tropical jungle along with the modern concern on climate change and the use of agroforestry as a tool to fight deforestation and poverty in rural landscapes.

The demand for chocolate in the world is currently bringing a massive pressure for tropical forests in Peru. Farmers are logging down forests to plant cocoa trees without any concern on the consequences. As more cocoa crops are beingb introduced, more cocoa beans are produced, and prices go down, droughts are more often, and landslides affect crops and roads. People live in a infamous economic cycle where they need to produce more in behalf of their environment.

In our project we teach our neighbors and associates how to bring back ancient techniques of multiple species crops along with modern techniques of agroforestry and forest management that maximize productivity and minimize risks such as flooding and droughts. 

By using a variety of tropical trees we enrich the soil, give protection on heavy rains, and have different harvests along the seasons, rather than a unique harvest of cocoa beans. Along with the environmental care, we gather our communal production of cocoa beans and offer it under our program Chocolate By Design, wich is an on demand sell of production, depending on which variety of cocoa bean an individual farmer has.

Nowadays we work with a cocoa cooperative, ALLIMA CACAO, that has 226 members and we intend to strengthen our project to replicate this for other farmers.

One of our main tools in this project is that we educate people and give them free trees, so they can plant them and experience the benefits of native trees on the ground. We are in the need for a better tree nursery, and some interactive tools for monitoring farmers that join our project.




Is this proposal for a practice or a project?


What actions do you propose?


Continue and strengthen our basic practices that are having a technified tree nursery where we develop native trees that are suitable for soil protection, off season crops, and premium market demand.

Continue to give lectures, workshops and capacitation to farmers so they embrace agroforestry as a available tool to fight climate change, deforestation and poverty.

Engage rural settlers with the use of mobile technology that allows them to communicate and share useful information on how to increase productivity and get access to fair and premium trade.


Who will take these actions?


These actions will be led by SABIA TERRA PERU SAC, along with agricultural cooperative ALLIMA CACAO, and our local authority Municipalidad de Chazuta, along with el Ministerio del Ambiente - Environment Ministry.

Where will these actions be taken?


We want to reach all of our 226 associates in ALLIMA COOPERATIVE, then reach out to approximately 1500 farmers along the Chazuta district, and if we are successful,. we want to replicate our POWER TREE NURSERY to a regional level.


In addition, specify the country or countries where these actions will be taken.


Country 2


Country 3

No country selected

Country 4

No country selected

Country 5

No country selected


What impact will these actions have on greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?


In an agricultural landscape where monoculture crops are encouraged, multiple crops and agroforestry have to be a real solution, both for environment and business. We propose a non cost approach to accessing this kind of farming, by putting in the ground approximately 120 trees per individual farmer, multiply this by the thousands. 

Ina business as usual scenario a single farmer cuts down around 700 trees to clean 1 acre of land to plant cocoa trees. We teach them to leave at least 150 trees for shade and off season harvest of native crops, and if they already have chopped down their native trees, we present them with 100 trees per acre to restore the balance they have lost.

A visit to our  20 acre ecofarm is the best example for them to get a first hand look on the benefits of this system. While they suffer droughts, we have water all year long, while they harvest only two times in a year, we have at least 12 different products to harvest along the year round, while they sell their cocoa beans at 3 dollars a kilo, we transform them and sell them at least 25 dollars a kilo.

Our power nursery, that produces and give away free native trees is the best tool to end the infamous cycle of monoculture farming that is killing our tropical forests.





What are other key benefits?


The cocoa industry in Peru and the south american region is growing fast. Our project aims to give the rural settler the tools to minimize the hazards of bad agricultural practices.

Our program Chocolate By Design aims to give the common chocolate consumer an opportunity for obtaining a better and cheaper product, and at the same time helping local farmers take care of their environment.


What are the proposal’s projected costs?


We have an estimated cost of 7,500 dollars to install a technified native tree nursery that will boost our reach to all of our local community. 

Additionally we will use 2,500 dollars to implement an effective communications system to replicate and outreach throughout other communities. 

No negative side effects on sight.



In 1 year we will reach our 226 associates.

In 3 years we will reach our 1500 neighbors, this will be a game changer and boost our impact.

In 5 years we will replicate our nursery in 3 other districts.

About the author(s)

Carlos Bérninzon Barrón , environmental advocate, pioneer in dry forest conservation. STumbes, Peru.

Luis Felipe Bérninzon Barrón, Forest manager, and biodiversity specialist, founder of, San Martin Peru.

Alexandra Abrill, Veterinarian, environmental advocate, Lima Peru.


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