Guided initially only by knowledge inherited from their ancestors, the people of Concepción Chiquirichapa in southwestern Guatemala began conserving their forest four decades ago. The participation of local people has been key to converting pastureland on the Siete Orejas mountain into a green and leafy forest that sustains the area’s economy and water supply. The sustainable use of forest resources is central to the town’s approach. People can gather food, natural medicine, and leaf litter for use as fertilizer, so long as they do not harm the forest. This is the first part of Mongabay’s three-part profile of the Concepción community’s effort to restore the forest of Siete Orejas. Links to other stories in this three-part profile of the Concepción Chiquirichapa community’s stewardship of its sacred cloud forest will appear here once they are published: Ancient spirituality guides a Maya town’s conservation efforts CONCEPCIÓN CHIQUIRICHAPA, Guatemala — Marcelino Aguilar walks down a mountain path bordered by yellow wildflowers with a calm step. He stops at a group of two dozen pinabete ( Abies guatemalensis ) and Caribbean pine ( Pinus caribaea ) trees, off to his left. Three stories overhead, their green treetops dance in the cold wind. It […]

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