Conserving a tropical coastline in Guatemala

Guatemalan community members are protecting almost 54,500 hectares of coastal and cloud forest to stop 18 million tonnes of CO2 from being released.

Key facts

  • Only One members are funding the reduction of 750 tonnes of carbon by helping conserve swaths of tropical coastline and “cloud forests” in Izabal, Guatemala.

  • The project saves trees, maintains resources generating local water supply, and protects the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, a vital conservation and development area home to 30 threatened species and 120 types of bird making a biannual journey between North and South America!

  • 487 jobs have been supported or created for local or indigenous communities, with 24% of positions held by women.

  • Through our carbon reduction partner Stand For Trees, the project is certified by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and has achieved CCB Gold Level status for providing exceptional climate, community, and biodiversity benefits.

How the project works


Stand For Trees selects an area to protect that’s able to demonstrate robust positive impact on the environment and communities.

Stand For Trees


Their work saves forests through activities like protected area management, stopping carbon emissions in the process.

Stand For Trees


Independent auditors verify successes from the project.

Stand For Trees


Carbon credits are issued from the project and people buy them through Stand For Trees, meaning the project receives funds to keep delivering results and healing the planet.

Stand For Trees

Become a member of Only One today to fund Stand For Trees’ project and take direct action to save the planet — planting your own ocean forests and coral reefs, and removing plastic and carbon pollution.

Project impact

All projects on Only One help save the ocean and fix the climate, and 100% of our members’ funds always go to impact. You can learn more and see proof of our 100% model on our Transparency page. Keep reading to discover how our “Conserving a tropical coastline in Guatemala” project is having a positive effect.

Biodiversity and ecosystems

The ecosystems along the Guatemala Caribbean coast range from lowland and cloud forests to mangrove and lagoon ecosystems. As many as 504 bird species have been documented, hundreds of which depend on the tropical forests when migrating as part of the Mesoamerican “flyaway.” Stand For Trees’ project protects habitat for an abundance of mammals and reptiles, including 30 high conservation value (HCV) species such as jaguars and Baird’s tapirs.

The conservation coastline Only One members are helping protect reaches from Belize in the north to Honduras in the south — an expansive landscape and coastal area, crucially home to swampy mangrove forests. Mangroves, which we also call “ocean trees,” are a critical repository for blue carbon, found along shorelines where freshwater meets saltwater. Whilst mangroves make up around only 1% of forested land globally, they can store four times more carbon than other tropical forests, locking it in the soil deep below their roots for millions of years.

Join our Million Mangrove Challenge to learn more about the power of ocean trees and plant your own!

Stand For Trees

Carbon reduction

The project will stop 18 million tonnes of CO2 emissions over its 30-year lifetime, validated by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). Stand For Trees achieves this by protecting forests along the Guatemala Caribbean coast — a powerful leafy natural resource capturing and storing vast amounts of carbon dioxide. The on-the-ground team is restoring 2,406 hectares of cloud forest in Izabal, and conserving over 54,000 hectares of trees adjacent to the ocean. Through this project, Stand For Trees has stopped over 5.3 million tonnes of carbon emissions from being released into the atmosphere to date, equivalent to taking almost 640,000 homes off the grid for a year! Only One members’ funds are making a vital contribution by reducing 750 tonnes of carbon.

Stand For Trees

Community development

Stand For Trees’ project integrates ecosystem conservation with sustainable approaches to productive land use, enabling local communities to pursue viable livelihoods. Farmers receive training and financial and business support to grow cardamom, cinnamon, lychee, and rambutan using regenerative agroforestry techniques, which contributes €8.4 million (approximately $8.9 million) to the local economy to benefit the wider community, with a focus on the long-term health and well-being of indigenous people. Project leaders have established 24 community-run clinics in the Guatemala Caribbean coastal region, providing sexual and reproductive health services to thousands of families.

Stand For Trees

Endangered species

The Guatemala Caribbean coast is home to numerous native species, including the West Indian manatee, also known as a “sea cow” owing to its round body, small head, and affinity for seagrass! Dwindling manatee populations are now classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with scientists estimating that there are only around 2,500 West Indian manatees left in the wild. Stand For Trees’ project places a critical emphasis on biological research and marine biodiversity monitoring, with the intention of better understanding species like the West Indian manatee, in particular how they are responding to a changing climate and habitat.

Mark J. Barrett

Project leaders

Stand For Trees’ project is carried out on the ground by FUNDAECO (Fundación para el Ecodesarrollo y la Conservación), a Guatemalan nonprofit organization, and is supported by over 100 local and indigenous communities maintaining the integrity of the work through actively participating in consultation, decision making, and implementation of activities.

Marya Pop, after being married at the age of 14, was supported by FUNDAECO to take her case to court, claiming that forcing her to marry violated her rights. As a result, Mayra was allowed to continue with her studies and was given a scholarship from FUNDAECO to study forestry engineering at a private university in Petén. Now, she wants to encourage the girls in her community to graduate as she did.

“Women need to be empowered to safeguard Mother Nature.”

Stand For Trees

Sustainable Development Goals

By supporting the “Conserving a tropical coastline in Guatemala” project, Only One members’ funds go toward these 12 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Project reporting

Stand For Trees will send Only One a bespoke annual report on how the carbon reduction project is progressing.

Stand For Trees

More about our carbon reduction partner

Stand For Trees reduces people’s climate impact by saving 4.5 million hectares of tropical forest. They fight deforestation at its core, preventing mature, resilient trees from being chopped down. Stand For Trees’ projects make a difference not only to the climate, but also to the wildlife and communities that call forests home. They hold special certifications from the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate, Community, and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard. Stand For Trees is serious about protecting forests in the most legitimate and effective way possible, only making projects available for the purchase of carbon credits after they show proof of success — just like anything you might buy in a store.

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