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It's fair to say Ecuador's northwest sits at an intersection of extremes. Forests in the region range from the very wet to the very dry. Both spoiled and pristine would accurately describe this biologically rich yet shrinking landscape.
Pasture and commercial agriculture have replaced much of the forests along Ecuador's coast, but what's left is a vital piece of a larger ecosystem extending into Colombia and Panama that’s still relatively healthy. So saving the Chocó-Manabí forest would create a corridor that gives species enough space to migrate as they adapt to changing climate conditions.
This project will reforest at least 250 hectares of degraded pasture land in the western foothills of Ecuador. A joint venture between Conservation International, the Maquipucuna Foundation, and a group of partners, this project will also plant a mixture of 15 native tree species on former ranch lands and reconnect existing forests. We've already planted the first 38 hectares of land, and our activities will continue into 2009.
Over the 30-year life of this project, the reforested areas will store at least 80,000 tons of CO2. Cutting down forests releases carbon that’s stored in trees back into the atmosphere. Protecting forests keeps this carbon in the ground, thereby avoiding emissions. The Ricoh Corporation of Japan has purchased a majority of this project’s carbon credits.
This project employs local community members for seed collection, nursery establishment, planting, and maintenance. The reforested sites will provide additional income from activities tied to healthy forests, such as ecotourism, and help protect clean water supplies and reduce water-borne diseases.
Biological Diversity Benefits
In the long run, replanting forests will create structural and microclimatic conditions that could expand habitat for native plants and animals. Connecting fragmented habitats into a conservation corridor is critical for species whose survival depends on large expanses of contiguous forest.
Learn about all of our forest projects.