16 Jan Protection of the Ecuadorian lowland primary rain forests
Esperanza – Protecting western lowland primary rain forests harboring threatened tree species in Ecuador
Partner: Fundación Great Leaf
This project aims at conserving and restoring a network of lowland primary rain forest fragments in north-western Ecuador (Manabí province) through ecological restoration and land purchase to enhance its connectivity. The project aims also at gazetting the site and at building the capacity of the local communities to conserve threatened tree species. At least six threatened tree species will be targeted in the protection and reforestation efforts.
The project “Esperanza” aims at conserving and restoring a network of lowland primary rain forest fragments in north-western Ecuador (Manabí province). At the centre of this network is the privately owned “La Esperanza” primary rainforest covering ca. 10 ha.
To date, Esperanza and the surrounding fragments harbour six globally threatened (5 EN and 1 VU) tree species, one Near Threatened one and at least two new probably threatened tree species (currently being described).
The Esperanza project has three objectives:
1) initiate reforestation of 20 ha of pasture and link via ecological corridors the network of forest patches around Esperanza; reforestation will focus on growing the six endangered tree species targeted by the project;
2) Educate and train communities around Esperanza in conservation and reforestation techniques;
3) inscribe Esperanza as an officially protected area ensuring its long-term conservation and buy the adjacent lowland forest to Esperanza. Long term impact will be secured by closely implicating the El Sapote community and via a solid network of Ecuadorian based researchers fully dedicated to the conservation of the site. In the long-term Esperanza aims at serving as a model for rain forest conservation in this biodiversity hotspot, empowering local communities in the process.