On July 24, 2002, the Asociación de Pequeños Agricultores de Rabanal Inc. (APARI) constituted a conservation easement with the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico (CTPR) to protect 15.66 acres of its property in the municipality of Cidra, within Puerto Rico’s Metro-Central Region. It became the first donation of a conservation easement by a private non-profit organization under the Puerto Rico Conservation Easement Law.
Established in 1984, APARI is a community-based private non-profit rural corporation dedicated to the promotion and sponsorship of socioeconomic development programs in the rural Rabanal ward of the municipality of Cidra. Since the mid-1980s, APARI has provided training opportunities in the organic production of vegetables and ornamental plants, basic sewing techniques, parliamentary procedure, leadership development, agroforestry techniques, and reduction of pesticide use in agricultural activities, among others. The organization has also implemented successful alphabetization programs, remedial and tutoring education sessions to assist residents in obtaining their high school diplomas or college credits, and teacher capacity-building workshops.
After 15 years of socioeconomic and sustainable agriculture initiatives carried out in El Rabanal, APARI considered various options to assure the protection and conservation of the natural values of its property, as these were threatened by rapid urban development expansion in the municipality of Cidra. For this reason, the organization decided to constitute a conservation easement with the Conservation Trust.