The cloud forests of Sierra de Xilitla in Mexico is one of the projects funded by Carbon Balanced Paper. But what is a cloud forest, what animal and plant species exist there, and what’s their role in regulating the local climate?

One of the key aims of the Carbon Balanced Paper scheme is to raise funds for the protection of areas of threatened land around the world. Through its partner, World Land Trust, the initiative currently funds four projects, each one preserving a vast range of biodiversity, from the smallest plant to the largest animal.

Alongside projects in Ecuador, Guatemala and Vietnam, Carbon Balanced Paper is also involved in the protection of land in the forests of Sierra de Xilitla in Mexico. High in the mountains of the Sierra Madre Oriental, these forests are under constant threat from wildfires, timber extraction and climate change, which not only has an devastating effect on the animals and plants that call the forests their home, but the climate of the entire country.

Root and Branch Solution

As the name suggests, cloud forests have a significant role in the formation of clouds and microclimates for miles around, which has a direct effect on the health and wellbeing of the local population. The roots, branches, leaves and mosses of the trees capture and retain moisture, creating giant reservoirs that form clouds which go on to produce rain for the lands far below.

This, of course, provides local populations with fresh rainwater to use for drinking, washing and growing crops – water that’s substantially cleaner than water from other sources thanks to the cold temperatures and natural filtration system of the forest.

The cloud forests of Mexico also provide a habitat for a diverse range of rare, endemic wildlife, from Jaguars, Pumas, American Black Bears and Ocelots to birds such as the Bearded Wood-Partridge and Crested Guan. In addition, they provide the ideal growing conditions for a broad mix of temperate and tropical flora, including dozens of different types of orchid.

1.25m Trees and Counting

However, the plants, animals and the natural water cycle the cloud forest creates is being threatened by a range of human-related stress points, including large-scale agriculture and logging. And because these forests have a delicate climate balance, they are more vulnerable than other land areas to climate change.

What Carbon Balanced Paper and World Land Trust aim to achieve in Sierra de Xilitla is to protect over 16,000 acres of tropical forestry over a five-year timespan. This protection will not only preserve over 1.25m trees and 552 different animal species, but also prevent the release of over 160 tCO2e that’s stored in the forest.

The Carbon Balanced Paper Scheme

Launched in 2010, Carbon Balanced Paper enables companies to offset the carbon emissions of their office paper and printed communications by balancing the assessment of CO2 emissions with the area of high value conservation land preserved. Not only will membership of the scheme reduce your carbon impact and enhance your brand, it will provide you with a unique World Land Trust Carbon Balanced Paper logo to use on your marketing communications.

Whether it’s the cloud forests of Mexico or the coastal forests of Guatemala, being a member of Carbon Balanced Paper demonstrates your commitment to carbon reduction while making a significant contribution to the preservation of some of the world’s most threatened habitats.

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