Carlos J. Perez
 
C. J. Perez

"I CHANGE by doing locally while thinking globally."

– Carlos J. Perez, President of NicaForest Plantations S.A.

Upon completion of my graduate studies at Cornell University in 1996 (M.Sc. & Ph.D.) I was very lucky to join the program for Sustainable Agriculture in the Hillsides of Central America, which supported agroforestry systems and demand driven systems for watershed management, including financial mechanisms that incorporate local communities in the reforestation of the upper landscape. Meanwhile, in the early years of the new millennium, the concern for climate change was increasing. It was a forest engineer from Switzerland who came to evaluate our program who reported how our practices in the hillsides contributed to both, mitigation and adaptation to climate change. This event triggered my interest in deepening my background in the matter and I joined the regional project on Tropical Forests and Climate Change Adaptation at CATIE in Costa Rica. The latter happened to be an excellent school to enrich my background, and since 2006 I have been engaged in promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation. Since 2009 to present, together with Norwegian investors, I became co-founder of NicaForest Plantations S.A., an enterprise dedicated to implementing sustainable reforestation programs, with a view to certified sequestration of CO2. Our forest plantations are now certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and validated Gold Standard for its contribution to climate change mitigation. The plan is to scale up our reforestation program to a landscape level once we find appropriate investors.

I have been contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation in multiple ways. I have been very lucky to hold several positions as program coordinator, entrepreneur and as practitioner.

As program coordinator, I have contributed to several investigations on the relevance of tropical forests to climate change adaptation and mitigation, particularly for the provision of water resources for people and other sectors of the economies. Also, I have been working in developing climate change strategies in indigenous territories, municipalities, wider territories, and contributed to the elaboration of the Regional Strategy on Climate Change for Central America.

More recently, my work as climate change advisor in Christian Aid, allows me to contribute to community driven climate monitoring and early warning systems; strengthening agricultural value chains such as cocoa, honey, cashew, and others to become climate resilient; and contributing further with policies at local and national level in several countries in Central America.

As a practitioner, my family lives on a small farm where we grow trees, fruits and vegetables to reduce our carbon footprint. The goal is to produce most of what we consume at home which now in the order of 30 different products, such as honey, tomatoes, lettuce, citrus, and more.