In 2012, Guatemala had a forest cover of 3,674,595 hectares, which accounted for 34% of the national territory. Due to strong pressure from the expanding agricultural frontier, logging and other factors, the forest cover decreased significantly from 2006 to 2012. In 2006 the total forest cover was 3,868,708 hectares. This represents a net loss of 146,112 hectares of forest in the aforementioned period, which amounts to a net deforestation rate of 1.0% per year at the national level (compared to the total forest area in 2006). This situation has become particularly critical as Guatemala has been identified as one of the world´s most vulnerable countries to extreme climatic events and other climate change impacts.
Over the last two decades, Guatemala has promoted policy instruments for forest conservation, management and reforestation through the Forest Incentives Programme (PINFOR) and the Forest Incentives Programme for Small Forestry and Agroforestry Landholders (PINPEP), developing regulatory, technical and planning tools to facilitate their implementation. However, despite the progress made in the administration and sustainable use of forest resources in the country, none of these policy instruments has specifically addressed the issue of forest landscape restoration through the use of one of the aforementioned tools.
The Forest Landscape Restoration Board has developed a Forest Restoration Map, where a total of 3,989,465 hectares has been identified as a potential area for restoration, which has been divided into four categories: a) protected areas; b) riparian areas; c) mangrove forest areas; and d) areas suitable for forestry with gradients of more than 50% and high water recharge capacity. In addition, there is a National Strategy for Forest Landscape Restoration, whose main objective is the restoration of 1.2 million hectares of forest landscape in highly vulnerable areas by the year 2045.
Thus, it is necessary to develop a project proposal aimed at the implementation of forest landscape restoration actions through pilot restoration sites established in accordance with the "ITTO Guidelines for the Restoration, Management and Rehabilitation of Degraded and Secondary Tropical Forests”, focused on 4 strategic forest ecosystems that have been prioritized by the National Forest Institute (INAB) and the National Council for Protected Areas (CONAP) - cloud forests, dry forests, pine-oak forests and mangrove forests. This project proposal is designed to be implemented in two phases. The first phase will focus on strengthening technical capacities in the areas related to restoration, knowledge management for restoration, and establishment of pilot sites in two of the prioritized ecosystems (pine-oak forests and cloud forests). In the second phase, the experience gained from the implementation of the first phase will be used for the generation of information for dissemination at the national level as well as the implementation of trial plots in the other two ecosystems that were initially prioritized.