Rainforest Concern has been working to develop the Chocó Andean Corridor Project, in northwest Ecuador, since 1993. The southern phase of the corridor is located at the confluence of two of the world’s biological ‘hotspots’: the Chocó-Darien and Tropical Andes (1). The idea is to create habitat connectivity that aids species survival by linking the last unprotected forests between the Maquipucuna, Mindo y Pululahua reserves to the Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve and following north to the Awa Reserve in the province of Esmeraldas (see map below).
(1) Conservation International (2008) Biodiversity Hotspots Available at http://www.biodiversityhotspots.org/Pages/default.aspx
Rainforest Concern is working in the following areas of the Corridor Project:
The Santa Lucia cloud forest reserve is located about 80 km northwest of Quito, in the province of Pichincha. This is the southern end of the Chocó Andean Rainforest Corridor. Rainforest Concern has for many years supported the Santa Lucia Co-operative, a community-based organisation dedicated to conservation and sustainable development. Their aim is to make a modest living whilst conserving their remaining cloud forest through projects such as ecotourism, reforestation, small agroforestry plantations and environmental education. The community owns 780 hectares of montane cloud forest, of which about 80% is still in its prime, virgin state, and the reserve has been declared a Bosque Protector (Protected Forest). Please go to the Santa Lucia website for more information, or click here for the latest available newsletter update (pdf format).
VIEW CAMERA TRAPPING FROM THE SANTA LUCIA CLOUD FOREST RESERVE: A chance to see elusive wildlife such as spectacled bears, pumas and deer.
The Paso Alto mountain range lies between the Santa Lucia Cloud Forest Reserve and the Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve. Since the end of 2006 we have been funding an agroforestry project in two of the communities in the buffer zone of the forest in the Pamplona and Daule Watersheds, with a focus on producing shade-grown coffee, which, after 3 years of work, has now started to generate income for the local community. This project has enabled 5000 hectares to receive the official declaration of Protected Forest Status, which required work with local residents to find environmental and economic alternatives to ‘slash and burn' subsistence farming. Please click here for our 2014/15 newsletter update (pdf format).
Since 2003, through generous donations from its members and supporters, Rainforest Concern has been able to purchase areas of forest to protect in an area between the Paso Alto Mountain Range and the Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve, known locally as Intag. The intention has been to link these two protected areas through land purchases, creating one continuous corridor. We have named this area the Neblina Reserve, and to date it comprises 1,761 hectares of montane cloud forest, which has been declared Protected Forest in the national protected areas system. The Neblina Reserve has also become the first project in Rainforest Concern's new Forest Credits programme. Please click here for our 2014/15 newsletter update (pdf format).
In the Intag region of Ecuador, a unique community-based conservation project has been undertaken to protect the area's threatened forests and wildlife and secure safe drinking water for thousands of inhabitants. The forests of Intag are part of the Tropical Andes Biological Hotspot, the most biodiverse of the world's 34 Biological Hotspots. These forests are much more threatened than the Amazonian forests and, acre per acre, are not only more botanically diverse, but harbour more threatened species. For the past 8 years, Rainforest Concern has been working with DECOIN on its Community Biodiversity and Watershed Reserve project, helping communities buy, and where necessary reforest, their watersheds with native tree species, in order to create community-owned and -administered protected areas. To date, 41 community reserves have been created, protecting thousands of hectares of native cloud forests. We have also funded a recently completed two-year alternative development project with communities affected by the mining conflict.
Yakusinchi Reserve is a project to preserve and increase a fragment of extraordinary sub-tropical cloud forest in the foothills of the central western Andes of Ecuador. This mountainous, hilly and difficult land, purchased but not considered owned - only loaned for life - by husband and wife conservation team, Briton Jane Sloan and Ecuadorian Daniel Recalde, is exuberantly tropical and mystical.
In the last six years six tracts of adjoining land have been purchased, now amounting to 250 acres. Rainforest Concern helped to purchase the last piece of mountain land in an urgent bid to help save the lives of an important group of Ecuadorian golden-mantled howler monkeys.
Please click here for our 2014/15 newsletter update on saving the golden-mantled howler monkeys