Evaluation of environment and human welfare in the Eastern dry corridor of Guatemala

Geographical coverage

Geographical scale of the assessment Sub-regional
Country or countries covered Guatemala
Any other necessary information or explanation for identifying the location of the assessment, including site or region name

The Eastern dry corridor of Guatemala is a unique ecosystem in Central America, habitat for several endengered and endemic species. The study area includes 8 municipalities: 2 in El Progreso (San Cristóbal y San Agustín Acasaguastlán) and 6 in Zacapa (Usumatlán, Teculután, Zacapa, Huité, Río Hondo, Estanzuela) These municipalities were chosen because they are located in important sub-basins where the water come from to integrate tht economic cycle of the three important crops assessed in this study: corn and beens, coffee and melons.

Conceptual framework, methodology and scope

Assessment objectives

General Objective: Provide a regional planning tool that allows to integrate scientific information and make it available to decision makers to achieve sustainable local development, improving human welfare in the region. To demonstrate the benefit of environmental assessments for planning processes and land use planning, including the development of regulatory frameworks.

Specific Objectives

*To demonstrate the benefit of environmental assessments for planning processes and land use planning, including the development of regulatory frameworks.

*Submit dry corridor assessment to national and local actors as a tool for environmental services relating to human welfare.

*Provide a tool for users of information at the national and municipal dry corridor to strengthen the process of land management and environmental governance.

Mandate for the assessment

In 2010, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, asked for an evaluation in the dry corridor as a tool for desition-making process. In 2011 The United Nations for Depelopment Program hired the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences for the exploratory study. They defined the specifyc study area and the economic circuits to be evaluated. In 2012, the UNDP and the Poverty and Environment Iniciative of the United Nations wrote the terms of reference to hire a consultant group to develop the assesment in the Dry Corridor, choosing the consortium form by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Fundación Defensores de la Naturaleza (FDN) and the Centro de Estudios Ambientales y Biodiversidad de la Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (CEAB-UVG).

Conceptual framework and/or methodology used for the assessment

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA)

URL or copy of conceptual framework developed or adapted

We used as first reference the Ecosystem Assessment manual by Ash et. al. Although we complement the procedures explained in the manual with a DPSIR analysis , the use of InVest to modeling the current situation, MicMac analysis.

System(s) assessed

  • Forest and woodland
  • Cultivated/Agricultural land
  • Grassland
  • Mountain
  • Dryland

Species groups assessed


Ecosystem services/functions assessed


  • Food
  • Water
  • Timber/fibres


  • Climate regulation
  • Regulation of water flows
  • Erosion prevention
  • Maintainence of soil fertility

Supporting Services/Functions

  • Soil formation and fertility
  • Primary production

Cultural Services

Scope of assessment includes

Drivers of change in systems and services


Impacts of change in services on human well-being


Options for responding/interventions to the trends observed


Explicit consideration of the role of biodiversity in the systems and services covered by the assessment


Timing of the assessment

Year assessment started


Year assessment finished


If ongoing, year assessment is anticipated to finish


Periodicity of assessment

One off

Assessment outputs


Among the assessment advances, the current scenario has been defined, which is a description of the socio-economic, cultural, environmental goods and services, food security and the productive circuits chosen for analysis (corn and beans, coffee and melon) in the study site. On this description are defined measurable variables that allow to project future scenarios which positively or negatively affect the provision of ecosystem services and their impact on human welfare. Based on these projections scenarios, the technical team will propose tools for land policy and land use planning for the future that achieve the best possible scenario.


Communication materials (e.g. brochure, presentations, posters, audio-visual media)

Presentation of the assessment Brochure

Journal publications

Training materials

Other documents/outputs

Tools and processes

Tools and approaches used in the assessment

  • Modelling
  • Trade-off analysis
  • Indicators
  • Scenarios
  • Economic valuation
  • Ecosystem mapping
  • Stakeholder consultation

Process used for stakeholder engagement in the assessment process and which component

Since the begining of the assessment, the Ministry of environment and natural resources, and the secretary of planning were involved. The helped us in workshops calls with the notification to their own technitians. They gave us ideas an participated in at least 3 locals workshops at differents moments of the assessment.

Key stakeholder groups engaged

Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) General Secretary for Planning (SEGEPLAN)

The number of people directly involved in the assessment process


Incorporation of scientific and other types of knowledge

  • Scientific information only
  • Resource experts (e.g. foresters etc)
  • Traditional/local knowledge

Supporting documentation for specific approaches, methodology or criteria developed and/or used to integrate knowledge systems into the assessment

DPSIR MICMAC annalysis InVest

Assessment reports peer reviewed



Accessibility of data used in assessment

in progress

Policy impact

Impacts the assessment has had on policy and/or decision making, as evidenced through policy references and actions

Still on process

Independent or other review on policy impact of the assessment


Lessons learnt for future assessments from these reviews

It is so important to include the users of the information since the very begining of the process

Capacity building

Capacity building needs identified during the assessment

how to forecast future scenarios.

Actions taken by the assessment to build capacity

Network and sharing experiences, Sharing of data/repatriation of data, Workshops

How have gaps in capacity been communicated to the different stakeholders

Knowledge generation

Gaps in knowledge identified from the assessment

There are gaps in official information like PIB at different levels of political administration, past data on socioeconomic information like poverty, IDH. There are a big lack of information in social and economic equity messurments

How gaps in knowledge have been communicated to the different stakeholders

in local workshops

Additional relevant information