Behind the Lens of Healthy Forests for Healthy People: Coffee Farming in Guatemala

By Climatelinks

This blog series features interviews with the winners of the 2020 Climatelinks Photo Contest. This photo, submitted on behalf of the Feed the Future Guatemala Coffee Value Chains Project, is available on the Climatelinks Photo Gallery.

Can you tell us the story behind the photo, such as the person(s) in the photo and/or how it was captured?

The Feed the Future Guatemala Coffee Value Chains Project in Guatemala’s Western Highlands provides technical assistance to members of poor rural households working in the coffee value chain and horticulture. Through improved soil conservation, agroforestry, agricultural best management practices, and coffee processing, farmers such as this man planting a seedling on his coffee farm sustainably increase the value of harvests from existing fields.

As the submitter/photographer, what does this photo mean to you?

This photo shows that it is possible for smallholder coffee farmers to improve their livelihoods and at the same time contribute to increased forest cover. It shows that farmers by themselves can be more resilient in the long term.

This year’s theme was “Healthy Forests for Healthy People.” Tell us more about how your photo relates to the theme.

The photo shows a smallholder coffee farmer planting a shade tree seedling on his coffee plot. This agroforestry system contributes to maintaining and connecting healthy forests in Guatemala’s Western Highlands. These trees will provide the farmer with additional income, which will allow him to provide nutritious food to his family, improving their health. The trees will also provide other environmental forest services: water recharge, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and soil protection.

How does this photo show work that is being done to combat climate change, and/or the climate-related benefits resulting from that work?

Increasing tree cover by increasing trees outside of forests reduces the need to harvest timber and wood fuel from forests. The resulting reduced rates of deforestation and forest degradation will help mitigate the contribution of the loss of forest carbon to climate change.

The Climatelinks community is encouraged to submit new photos to the gallery through this submission form.


Strategic Objective
Adaptation, Biodiversity, Climate Change Integration, Economic Growth, Food Security and Agriculture, Land Use, Natural Resource Management, Self-Reliance, Sustainable Landscapes
Latin America & Caribbean



Climatelinks is a global knowledge portal for USAID staff, implementing partners, and the broader community working at the intersection of climate change and international development. The portal curates and archives technical guidance and knowledge related to USAID’s work to help countries mitigate and adapt to climate change. 

Submit Your Photo

Submit your photo to the Climatelinks Photo Gallery.

More on the Blog

When the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu were threatened by forest fires last September, firefighter Jessica Morón and her wildland firefighting team battled the flames to protect the historic sanctuary and its surrounding biodiversity.
Improving energy efficiency is an integral but often-overlooked part of low-emission development (LED) strategies that can help countries reach their climate targets while meeting growing demands for energy.
The United States and the world face a profound climate crisis. Climate change is not just a looming existential threat, it is currently threatening development progress and exacerbating global inequities; increasing humanitarian needs, food and water insecurity, and displacement; and contributing to conflict.