This connectivity is important for the survival of endemic flora and fauna that live in this isolated and small area, which are currently threatened due to production of biofuels and other degradation activities. Many iconic species live in this area, including the Mantled howler monkey, the Peccary and the Boa constrictor in addition to deer, pumas and many of the most threatened bird species of the region.
According to our botanist Eduardo Cueva, there are several possibilities in this forest for discovery of new plant species, some of which could have medicinal benefits for humans. We have submitted proposals to the San Diego Zoo and the Rotary Clubs of San Diego in order to raise funds for the management of this area, and meetings have already begun at the community level in this region of southwestern Ecuador with the goal of explaining to the local people our intention of collaboratively protecting and managing these areas.
Nature and Culture International, Natura, and local communities will also develop a shared management system for the reserve. We have been working with Natura in this region for three consecutive years as part of a sustainable development project in which community members harvest the fruit of the Palo Santo tree and Natura then converts the essential oils into an internationally marketed perfume – Amor America. This new initiative will complement microcredit, education, and other development activities already taking place in the area.
Since 1997, NCI has helped to establish millions of acres of protected areas in the tropics. We’ve worked closely with the Shuar people of the Amazon to preserve their age-old traditions, with communities and municipalities to create their own reserves, and we’ve helped safeguard water supplies for hundreds of thousands of people. We’ve collaborated with some of the poorest communities in the region to help establish sustainable income-generation activities, and we’re empowering new generations of conservationists through our effective environmental education programs. Our talented local staff of conservation professionals uses an effective bottom-up strategy, building close relationships with community stakeholders to accomplish our conservation objectives.