How Reforestation Helps People and Berries Downstream

man holding a tree

Location: Nevado de Colima, MX 

 
The seventh highest peak in all of Mexico, Nevado de Colima towers over one of Jalisco’s most important “Parque Nacional”s. For decades, the inactive volcano and the extensive alpine forests surrounding it were open to grazing and unregulated deforestation. The valleys below the park teemed with ever-expanding towns and farms, representing economic growth that also put increasing pressure on the region’s groundwater supplies. Hillsides became littered with the trunks of felled native trees and cows grazed away much of the park’s underbrush, leaving huge empty swaths where a forest once stood.

potted trees ready to be planted  

Ecosystems like Nevado de Colima’s are integral to the communities and businesses downstream from them. They shelter native flora and fauna while preventing erosion and replenishing healthy soil. Most importantly, they regulate rainfall, capturing and routing water into aquifers for the use of plants and people alike. 

Man holding soil

In 2017, Driscoll’s undertook an extensive groundwater monitoring project throughout Central Mexico, identifying over-stressed aquifers in regions where berries were being grown. Colima, where the high altitude produces some of the best raspberries in Mexico, had a water supply in crisis.

man planting a tree

What followed was a year of close collaboration. Driscoll’s local team partnered with government agencies, berry growers, and the park’s resident rangers and biologists to fund and execute large restoration projects in and around the national forest. In 2017 alone, thousands of native plants and seedlings were re-planted along the park’s slopes. Many of them, like the Colima Fir tree, grow only in Mexico. 

Restoring an ecosystem takes years, and creating a well-balanced, equitable water supply in a community can be a life’s work. That work starts with partnerships and projects that contribute to creating a healthy environment, which truly serves every member of the surrounding landscape.

"Ecosystems like Nevado de Colimna's are integral to the communities and business downstream." 

trees on the countryside