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Win for Los Cedros!

After months of waiting for a verdict, Ecuador’s Constitutional Court has voted in favour of Los Cedros, with seven of the nine judges voting to protect the reserve from mining.
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Los Cedros, a protected forest reserve in the north-west of the country, is made up of highly fragile and threatened cloud forest. This area is home to spectacular biodiversity including the critically endangered brown-headed spider monkey, Andean bears and more than 400 species of birds. Los Cedros also safeguards the headwaters of four important watersheds, which are vital for species and communities downriver.

For years, Los Cedros has been threatened by mining concessions from companies ENAMI and Cornerstone which cover two-thirds of the reserve. These concessions would have dire consequences for Los Cedros, the biodiversity it contains, as well as nearby communities. In a bid to stop the concessions going ahead, local communities and organisations took their fight to Ecuador’s highest court.

This is fantastic news for Los Cedros and the rights of nature

After many months of waiting, Ecuador’s Constitutional Court has now voted in favour of Los Cedros Reserve and have declared that the activities of mining companies have violated:

- the rights of nature

- the rights of nearby communities to safe water and a clean environment

- the rights of communities to consultation

The court also ruled that the companies failed to follow due process with environmental and water permits for the Rio Magdalena mining concessions which cover Los Cedros.

This ruling cannot be appealed and will ban all mining activity within the reserve, securing the continued safety of this incredible habitat. This is fantastic news for Los Cedros and the rights of nature, as well as all of those who worked so hard to produce this result.

Brown-headed spider monkey, Etienne Littlefair

The critically endangered brown-headed spider monkey

In 2008, Ecuador was the first country to recognise the rights of nature in their constitution, giving nature legal rights. This was a landmark ruling which encouraged other countries such as Bolivia and Colombia to adopt similar rights in the following years.

We hope this historic ruling will set a precedent for similar cases and will give hope to those fighting to protect our threatened forests. Rainforest Concern will continue to support and work closely with Los Cedros Reserve to conserve this extraordinary habitat.

Read more about the ruling from The Guardian

As a result of the ruling, Los Cedros are obligated by the Constitutional Court to produce a new management plan for the whole Reserve, with the participation of the surrounding communities. To do this they really need your help, so please donate to Los Cedros here.

If there are any universities/educational institutions who would like to carry out scientific research at Los Cedros, please do contact us: info@rainforestconcern.org

Spectacled Bear Murray Cooper

Andean Bear, Murray Cooper