Over the last 31 years, this project has focused its attention on conserving the remaining unprotected forests in Ecuador’s most biodiverse regions through strategic land purchases and by helping local communities find economic alternatives to thrive in harmony with nature. Local people play an integral role in conservation, hence setting up protected areas in isolation is insufficient to protect biodiversity. Therefore, the project works to develop a complex, multiscale, multifaceted conservation framework that integrates research, education, local community development, sustainable ecotourism and policy making.
GOALS & approach
The project, a joint initiative between Conservation International and the Maquipucuna Foundation, began in 2003. The foundation purchases high biodiversity forest lands directly and or enables local communities to purchase and manage land. Maquipucuna was the first NGO to purchase land for conservation. The project employs local community members to collect seeds, establish nurseries, plant the trees, and maintain the reforested sites. The program also hopes to improve the water quality on the land and encourage ecotourism as an alternate form of income for the community.
This program enables the creation of conservation strategies such as the Maquipucuna Reserve, the Tahuallullo farm & lodge of the Yunguilla Community, the Santa Lucía Cooperative Ecolodge and the Comuna Río Santiago Cayapas, which secures communal property rights. The Maquipucuna reserve applies the conservation agreements model and has additional strategies that include use of carbon credits purchased from The Ricoh Corporation in Japan. Long term sustainability is ensured through creation of an endowment.
“Story Maquipucuna Reserve Foundation Conservation Choco Andean Ecuador.” n.d. Maquipucuna. Accessed December 31, 2019.
- Maquipucuna Foundation
- Conservation International