Working to protect the Choco-Andean Corridor in NW Ecuador (2.5 million acres), one of the most species-rich regions on the planet with over 10 percent of the world’s threatened bird species. Fundacion Maquipucuna, the recipient of Maqui-Donations, is the leading conservation organization in the area and has been working since 1988 with local communities to halt the terrifying pace of deforestation in the region.
Protecting these forests presents many challenges. First of all, in addition to owning the land, it is necessary to invest resources in the protection to prevent squatting. Much of the remaining forest grows on land owned by very poor smallholder communities, and that land is rapidly being bought for rich logging and for use by oil palm companies. Local communities don’t want to sell off their land, and they certainly don’t want to see the forest destroyed, but sometimes they have no choice because they lack food, shelter and healthcare. Sadly, desperation pushes people to choices that present short-term benefits but long-term consequences.
In spite of this precarious living situation, poor Chocó-Andean communities working with Fundación Maquipucuna have recently set aside thousands of hectares of their remaining rainforest as conservation areas. Leaving land unexploited when you are poor is a tremendous sacrifice and one that can only be sustainable if the protected rainforest provides a steady income to support healthcare and other basic needs.
For 20 years we have been helping communities to identify and implement economic alternatives for protecting biodiversity and restoring degraded habitats when needed. We are destroying the natural resources on which we depend. Species are going extinct at a rate unprecedented. Half of the world’s primary forests are gone. Increases in greenhouse gases are causing global warming.
Support Maquipucuna and provide direct support to the most biologically important ecosystems and habitats on our planet.