The province of Pastaza is located in the Napo ecoregion, one of the world’s most diverse regions with the greatest potential for declaration of large Amazon forest conservation areas. Unfortunately, the area also faces significant threats, as it is under consideration for oil and gas exploitation. The construction of roads by oil companies has resulted in deforestation and colonization of the interior, such as from cattle ranching and logging.
Pastaza is also home to many indigenous peoples, including the Sapara, which are one of the most culturally threatened, with a total population of only 300 individuals. In partnership with the governments of Pastaza and with the technical support of Nature and Culture International, the Sapara people have expressed their desire to declare approximately 250,000 acres of their territory as a Provincial Reserve. The Sapara’s decision to establish a conservation reserve is important because development and logging activities will not be allowed in the area. The conservation area will provide greater protection of the Sapara territory and create a new collaborative model for land conservation in Ecuador.