Community engagement for rainforest protection
The Ecuador Save a Hectare Project is undertaken in partnership with our international project partner, UK-based Rainforest Concern.
Like the rainforest itself the strategy of the project is diverse. The purchase of rainforest alone is not sufficient in an economically disadvantaged country like Ecuador. Land is a resource with which people are intimately involved at a primary level. To ensure the Cloud Forests survive, economic alternatives are needed for local people to relieve their current dependence on unsustainable and destructive agriculture.
The project assists local people to develop small businesses in sustainable agriculture in low impact extractive industries like shade-grown coffee that is sold through a fair trade agreement and community industries that collect Tagua Palm nuts to create jewelry.
Through the creation of community owned eco-tourism, farming communities have willingly converted their farms into Cloud Forest reserves in exchange for the infrastructure that allows them to host tourists.
If land adjacent to the established eco-tourism reserves is offered for sale, then it can be purchased and added to the reserve. Local people can be employed as needed to manage and protect the Cloud Forests.
These initiatives ensure that protecting the Cloud Forests becomes part of the highly valued new economy.