Chocó Andean Corridor and Maquipucuna Reserve

With our mission in mind, we reached  out to the the International Union for Conservation of Nature (INCU).  They funded a participatory study to understand the deforestation risks around the Maquipucuna Reserve and to help our neighboring communities practice sustainablily productive activities to reduce their need to cut the forest.


The first ecolodge in Maquipucuna was dubbed 'MaquiHilton' and was constructed 1989. Through several improvments and rennovations it was finished in 2003.  This served as the base camp for numerous scientists and is one of the main employers for people in the community of Santa Marianita.

Maquipucuna Reserve
The Maquipucuna Ecolodge pioneered ecotourism throughout continental Ecuador and set the example in the Mindo region, as recognized by the Christian Science Monitor. After years of joint work, communities surrounding the reserve have  adopted Ecotourism and scientific research as the motor of change.
The Comuna Playa de Oro, which protects 25,000 acres of some of the last remnants of Chocó forest, runs an ecotourism operation that Maquipucuna assists with advise, bookins, and promotion. International organizations such as the Rainforest Concern, adopted the Chocó Andean corridor as their conservation framework successfully adding more areas under protection as the Awacachi Corridor and the Cambugan forest. 
Many farmers now are motivated to grow and sell quality shade-grown coffee in the mountains and cocoa in the lowlands of the Chocó Andean region.  Before Maquipucuna intervened, the quality was low and prices were low – both are being successfully turned around.  Women have been trained in selling crafts to tourists.  Hundreds have been skilled in areas including managing and using native bamboo.  Currently Maquipucuna is spearheading efforts to create unique denomination of origin brands, for the products and services of conservation from the Chocó Andean Region, just like Florida oranges are distinguished in the United States or Champagne is distinguished in Europe
In 1992, Maquipucuna began the Chocó Andean conservation corridor initiative. The conservation strategy has involved communities, NGOs and local governments in the creation of conservation of forest corridors within the region. In the lowlands of the Corridor the Afro Ecuadorean Comuna Rio Santiago Cayapas, after centuries of struggle, thanks to Maquipucuna’s support, legalized the property rights of their 44,000 ha of ancestral territories. 
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