The fight to save the conifers in El Salvador

Published: August 27, 2020

The Fundación Segundo Montes was one of the lucky winners of the latest KNOWLYMPICS 2019/2020.

The experience that they have submitted deals with saving the conifer reserves in El Salvador by fighting the spread of the bark beetle. With the prize they won they took the chance to start a new initiative related to the project. We took the chance and invited Joel Candelario Saenz, the Director of Fundación Segundo Montes, to an interview that we share below. Keep reading and get to know more about the project and their new initiative.

Can you tell us a bit about the project you won the KNOWLYMPICS prize with? What is it about?

The department of Morazán [in El Salvador] counts with one of the few conifer reserves left in the country. In 2016 the bark beetle plague started to affect the pine forests in an accelerated way. That is why the owners of the forests, the tourism centres, water committees, municipialities and NGOs have decided to join forces in order to take advocacy actions and to make the government take a stand.

Regarding the actions, however, opinions varied: The government suggested to cut down the affected trees and the ones close by and fumigate with agrochemicals. The water committees did not agree though, since the chemicals would pollute the groundwater reserves. The forest owners claimed rights to use the felled trees etc.

This is how the necessity of an integrated department commission emerged consisting of forest owners, water committee, NGOs and the government. Its responsibility would be to establish a road map on how to face the problem as soon as possible. Together with organisations from the US and Germany the Ministry for Environment coordinated the involvement of specialists to examine the damage and collaborate in finding a solution.

They travelled to Morazán and were able to meet the expectations of all parties involved: the cutting method. It had already worked in their countries, so their recommendations were put in practice and achieved satisfying results. The Fundación Segundo Montes (FSM), as one of the fund administrating organisations, then systematised the experience.

The experience won one of the KNOWLYMPICS 2019/2020 prizes. What did you use the prize for and why?

We used the prize to film and edit four videos about how to create organic inputs according to the experience we have gathered at FSM. The purpose is to share the experience and reach people beyond the people who are directly involved.

Who belongs to the target group and what’s the videos’ context?

Due to the recent lockdown we had to find new ways of getting together in order to make decisions or implement training processes. That’s the reason why we decided to create the videos. They can be shared on social media, where they might support men, women and young persons with their efforts in agroecology.

Are there any plans for the future related to the project?

Sure, we are currently creating new training videos that focus on food preservation. Some of the attended farmers involved in our projects could not market their production in the best possible manner. Food processing could definitely be an option to avoid losses – whether because of production, low prizes or issues with the mobilisation of the product. Besides, it could turn into an economic initiative for some families, who lost their jobs due to the current crisis.

NOTE: All of the videos below are in Spanish.

This video shows how to make Bokashi:

Here you can learn how to create lactic acids:

This video explains the creation of sulfo-calcium:

And this video is an answer to the question how to create “ormus”:

Sarah Fichtinger

Sarah Fichtinger

Sarah is part of the Knowledge Management Team in Vienna and in charge of the KNOW-HOW3000 platform. She is eager to provide all the tools the KNOW-HOW3000 community hopes to find on the internet platform. So if you have any requests, questions, recommendations or comments regarding the platform, please get in touch with her. She is always happy to hear from you.

with funding from