Reforestation Techniques for the Azuero Peninsula: A Day of Tree Talks, Guillermo Duran, Leo Mena, Dilsa Barrios, Analida Castillero, Emilio Mariscal, Fernando Uribe Trujillo, Vernon Scholey

AEP staff members Ruth Metzel and Leo Mena with ANAM personnel, c. Guillermo Duran

Over 100 participants from communities across the Azuero Peninsula gathered in Pedasi on April 23 to discuss innovative reforestation techniques for the region. The seminar, entitled “Reforestation Techniques for the Azuero Peninsula: A Day of Tree Talks” was hosted by the Azuero Earth Project to prepare interested landowners with practical knowledge and tools for reforestation in the upcoming rainy, tree planting season.

Azuero Earth Project staff members Guillermo Duran and Leo Mena opened the seminar with the organization’s vision to create a biological corridor connecting forest patches to build habitat for the endemic, critically endangered Azuero spider monkey. Guillermo Duran, GIS Administrator for AEP, is a forest engineer with a masters in Geography from San Francisco State Univeristy. Leo Mena, Eco-Guide Editor, has an undergraduate degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University.

Fernando Uribe presents to seminar participants, c. Guillermo Duran

Dilsa Barrios and Analida Castillero from the National Authority on the Environment (ANAM in Spanish) clarified how a landowner can protect their rights by registering their planted trees with ANAM. Dilsa Barrios has worked for ANAM for 30 years, now in the Watershed Department. Analida Castillero Works in the Forest Department and has worked with ANAM for 31 years. University of Panama professor and Forest Engineer Emilio Mariscal outlined economic and ecological services that trees provide, such as carbon sequestration, nitrogen fixation, and water regulation.

Fernando Uribe Trujillo from the Colombian organization Centro para investigación en sistemas sostenibles de producción agropecuaria (CIPAV in Spanish) presented silvopastoral techniques to raise cattle on farms that have trees. Dr. Trujillo, originally from Colombia, is Investigator of Sustainable Cattle Area for CIPAV. Vernon Scholey gave the final presentation, providing participants with practical reforestation advice from his 10 years of experience reforesting in Venao. Scholey received his post graduate degree in the Biology of Fishing Resources from the University of Washington. He is the President of the Board for APE and the Director of the Achotines Laboratory.

Event participants got the chance to test-drive the Azuero Plant Database, a new online tool that helps landowners interested in planting trees select species suitable for their goals. Each landowner can choose the ways in which they most need trees to improve their land value – whether that is fodder for cattle, beautiful flowers, or ability to survive in tough coastal environments – and choose their favorite species to reforest with in this wet season based on their individual needs. Participants also took part in a tree fair in which they could speak to representatives of tree nurseries, Los Asientos association APASPE, and PNUD-GEF.

Vernon Scholey presents to group, c. Guillermo Duran

Cattle rancher Clara M. Ros commented: “I really enjoyed that expert speakers shared their experiences and positive reforestation results, helping to integrate and motivate us to learn good practices to improve farms in a natural way without the need to spend so much money on chemicals.” AEP staff member Leo Mena commented: “The event was a great success! By getting all of these different landowners from all over the Azuero region to this event, I think we fulfilled our mission of connecting people and sharing knowledge so that we can work together for the greater environmental good.”

The Azuero Earth Project would like to thank seminar participants, speakers and representatives of the tree fair, Distribuidora LIBADI, Casa Margarita, Villa Esplendorosa, El Rey, Biomuseum, organizers of transportation and CEFATI/ATP for their collaboration and time to make this event such a success.

Written by Sophie M. Fuchs

Resources from the Seminar:

Access the Azuero Plant Database

Press link:

Video recordings of the presentations:


Fernando Uribe:


Emilio Mariscal:

Digital presentations of event speakers:

Emilio Mariscal’s presentation

ANAM Presentation – “Procedimientos y requisites para tramites relacionados con los recursos forestales”

ANAM Presentation – “Requisitos necesarios para la inscripción en el registro forestal”

Call the Azuero Earth Project at 995-2995 for more information about how you can reforest on your land this coming rainy season!