Since 2018, Contour Lines has been working to restore and rehabilitate 1,000 kilometres of degraded land throughout the Greater Livingston Area, on Guatemala’s Caribbean Coast. This ecosystem restoration community is helping to transition land previously degraded by slash-and-burn chemical corn farming, to regenerative land use. The Greater Livingston Area has around 20,000 residents. The area has both with low income and high ecological degradation, coupled with high rainfall leading to high erosion. Poor roads and land divisions isolate many of the villages, which suffer from unemployment, malnutrition and illiteracy. Restoration of the land empowers these communities to resolve such local issues, while contributing to global reforestation initiatives for carbon sequestration, erosion control, preservation of biodiversity and development of sustainable economies. Contour lines are used as the backbone agro-reforestation method in this regenerative transition. They stop erosion, build soil fertility and encourage organic and polyculture methods, planted with trees that both generate economic wealth and restore ecosystem health. The team provides training, trees and funds to local communities to plant their own projects, on their own lands, to help enable their regenerative transition, adopting a hands-on, project-oriented approach, and one that is measurable in meters of progress.
While Contour Lines’ work focuses on land use, their projects form the roots of a greater cultural transition. Processing and marketing of regenerative products, eco-tourism and reforestation incentives all provide sustainable income to communities. It reverses the region’s trade deficit, from importing the garbage of foreign corporations to exporting healthy, organic produce from local initiatives. The resulting improvements in diet, employment, education and reduction of migration all inspire a cultural regeneration. Through their approach, rural communities will continue to thrive long after Contour Lines’ work is done. Ultimately their goal is change in mindset, one that unites humans with nature, farms with forests, the economic with the ecological—one that restores the ecosystems of the Greater Livingston Area while empowering and enriching its people. In this sense Contour Lines are the vanguard of a regenerative society.
Since 2018, Contour Lines has designed and installed 2,100 agroforestry sites across 125 communities, transitioning 215 hectares (532 acres) of land degraded by slash-and-burn chemical corn farming to regenerative land use. Since they started, 124,000 new fruit, legume, and hardwood trees have been planted, along 113km of contour lines. Contour Lines has now employed 12 interns from a local school. These indigenous Qechi have just finished up the supervision phase, visiting, mapping and training at all 3.5k+ ecosystem restoration community sites across almost 200 villages. Contour Lines will continue to employ them as they to return to their home regions as leaders to organise and plant more agroforestry projects. Contour Lines works in partnership with Contour Lines Corp, APROSARSTUN (local nonprofit), Frutas del Mundo (tree nursery), AMMUNDIS (multicultural women’s association), Ak-tenamit (alternative school), Casa Guatemala (children’s school), Gamgadewale (Garifuna farm), Municipality of Livingston, Guatemala and COCODE (community council) of several rural villages.