In the Ecuadorian rainforest of Pastaza and Morona-Santiago, NCI is working with indigenous communities to conserve their land while earning needed funds for their sustainable development programs. We are working with the Shuar communities of Tumpaim and Kaank Grande, the Achuar community of Mashumar, and the Kichwa ancestral village of Kawsak Sacha in this effort. Altogether, the areas will conserve 113,000 acres of virgin rainforests, to be protected and managed by the communities under Ecuador’s Socio Bosque program.
Socio Bosque is an innovative “payment for ecosystem services” program launched in 2008 by the Ecuadorian government with the objective to reduce deforestation while funding the sustainable development. In return for their commitment to conserve their forest for a period of 20 years, the program compensates individual landowners and communities on an annual basis – the funds from which go towards creating sustainable industries, as well as investing in education and health.
NCI provides the technical assistance that communities need to enter the program and helps them create both a conservation management and sustainable development plan. To date, NCI has helped enter nearly 250,000 acres into Socio Bosque by working with 14 communities, as well as individual landowners and local governments.
Our goal is to inscribe one million acres of ecologically sensitive lands into this program in Ecuador, and help expand this concept to other countries to achieve major conservation, watershed protection, and carbon sequestration goals.