Estacion Armonia is a private Land Management Project in the Guatemalan Rainforest focused on the protection and recovery of the ecosystem. Here we learn from Nature and allow her to guide our steps by working with and around Her.
At Estacion Armonia, our main priority is to become a Sustainable Rainforest Farm to serve as a model to expand from, and to reach and demonstrate to local communities the benefits of Conscious Land Management.
Our ultimate goal is to influence Community, especially the Younger Generations to learn and adopt Logical Environmental Alternatives and Practical Techniques towards the Recovery and Conservancy of the Rainforest and its Resources.
At Estacion Armonia we are committed to help Nature manifest the Return of these Resources within the next ten years.
Estacion Armonia is located in Northern Guatemala at the shores of Lake Sac Peten, about one mile East of Ixlu and El Remate villages, between Flores and the Ancient Mayan City of Tikal. Click for map
Lake Sac Peten
From the chain of Lakes and Lagoons stretched East to West in this region, Lake Sac Peten is one of the few water bodies without any development around it, making it almost 100% pollution free, except for the impact caused by cattle on the South side shore.
Estacion Armonia protects almost one kilometer of Recovering Rainforest on the North side shore. Lake Sac Peten is considered by locals to have Medicinal Waters due to the presence of minerals in it. One of the reasons local inhabitants have left it alone is because when they have tried to wash clothes in it, soap refuses to produce abundant foam. This lake is home to turtles and at least three varieties of fish.—
Old Forest Patches
The forest in this region has been under overwhelming pressure for many years. It started with the arrival of the International Lumber Companies, followed by agriculture and subsequently by cattle grazing. With the exception of the few National and Regional Parks, only patches of original forest are found across the region.
THESE PATCHES OF FOREST ARE CRUCIAL TO THE RECOVERY OF THE RAINFOREST.
When Patches of Old Forest are present, BIRDS and BATS disperse the SEEDS of the fruits produced by the trees found in these patches of forest. At Estacion Armonia, Nature has shown us what happens when you just let it be. Personally, this has been the most encouraging lesson. Here we have an area of first growth forest that has been recovering for about twenty years. Under this canopy, the conditions are ideal for thousands of 2 to 5 year old Ramon (Brosimum Alicastrum) and other important fruit trees to thrive.
When we discovered these phenomena two years ago, we started helping these young ones by relieving them from pressure by lianas and branches.
This is by far the easiest, fastest and most effective way to interact with Nature in the recovery process.
This type of Reforestation involves a lot more effort than Natural Reforestation, but when you do not have Patches of Old Forest nearby, this is the way to go. For us at Estacion Armonia, this method has been a learning experience basically through trial and error.
In 2007 we started preparing our own Native Species Nurseries, and Nature kept teaching us more lessons. What we learned that year was that you still need a recovering landscape of at least two years old, because when it doesn’t rain for more than two weeks or during the dry summer days, these baby trees need the protection of the shade of the recovering landscape in order to survive, especially through their first year.
Our reforestation consists of various species of trees native to this forest, specially four species known to provide the main fruits of the Rainforest. These species are:
1- Ramon (Brosimum Alicastrum)mon (Brosimum Alicastrum)
3-Guaya Talisia Olivaeformis
All four are very important Native species that once dominated the landscape and provided food for Birds, Bats, Primates and many animals of the Rainforest.
For HUMANS and FUTURE GENERATIONS, one Native specie is reemerging with the potential to become “THE TREE OF SURVIVAL” for the local communities in this region.
Ramon (Brosimum Alicastrum)
Also known as “The Mayan Bread Nut”, or “Uhuxte”, once the base of the diet of the Mayan Civilization.
Today, at the nearby village of Ixlu, Ramon is processed into flour. A recent study revealed that Ramon is superior to corn in every column of the nutritional chart.
What is happening with Ramon in this region is a real blessing because now the local people can see for themselves, one very important reason to conserve the Rainforest.
At Estacion Armonia we have been successfully Reforesting with Ramon for the last three years. We are not doing Monoculture, but rather Multiculture with the species previously mentioned, as well as other important species of the region.
Ramon begins production at around the eight year, and usually produces two harvests per year.
This area has been our experimental fruit farm for five years now. From the trees first planted, we have already harvested some fruits such as: Coconuts, Anonas, Guanabas, Zapotes, Chico-zapotes, Noni, etc. The best area has been set aside for the Food Garden, as well as the Botanical Garden, scheduled to begin in 2011.
Also located by the Lake is our Camp Site, with four canopies used as shelters and for rainfall capturing. One of these canopies is being extended to serve as the permanent residence for the caretaker, although we hope to manifest the funds to build two additional units to rent out to guests in order to generate the income to sustain the entire project.
The hills behind the Agricultural Area are shaped like an amphitheater. This is a natural gift to us, since plan A for Water Demand is to capture as much rainfall as we are capable of. Then by gravity direct it down to the areas where needed. This system is low cost, practical and very effective.
This is another project in our waiting list. So far, we have dug out four pits which will become our fisheries. There are at least three types of fish in this Lake that we expect to work with.
The Heart of Estacion Armonia really is this area, being the first to find its place when we started the transformation of this land. In the last five years during the Winter Solstice, this area has been facilitated to Elders and the Conscious Community to gather in Sacred Ceremony.