PIONEERING CONSERVATION IN ECUADOR
Over the last 32 years we have focused our attention on conserving the remaining unprotected forests in Ecuador’s most biodiverse regions through strategic land purchases and by helping local communities find economic alternatives to thrive in harmony with nature.
The Chocó-Andino Biosphere Reserve
Maquipucuna is located in the Chocó Andean Corridor in Northwest Ecuador, at the ecotone of the Chocó and Tropical Andean forests. Maquipucuna was the first privately protected area of the region and now is the core of the Chocó Andino Biosphere Reserve. Since 1992, Maquipucuna has promoted the establishment of the Chocó Andean Corridor. Since 2007, Fundación Maquipucuna made the strategic decision of focusing its efforts entirely on the conservation of this region, which has the least protected and most endangered forests of Ecuador due to logging, mining, and other threats.
Maquipucuna was instrumental in the creation of the Protected Forest of Los Cedros del Río Tigre, which later became part of the Gran Sumaco Biosphere Reserve in Northeast Ecuador. In Southeast Ecuador, Maquipucuna's Proyecto Agroforestal Zamora (PAZ) carried out between 1989 and 2002, helped mitigate the impacts of colonization on the northeast side of the Podocarpus National Park through the promotion of high quality coffee cultivated in agroforestry systems, cheese and jams cottage industries, the creation of new protected forests, environmental education programs, creating infrastructure for attaining drinking water for the local communities, coupled with participatory community forestry projects. The outcomes of these projects and the environmental awareness created cemented the establishment of the Podocarpus - El Condor Biosphere Reserve.
The Upper-Amazon Region
Community-Based Purposeful Work
Local people play an integral role in conservation, hence setting up protected areas in isolation is insufficient to protect biodiversity. Therefore, where we have worked, we have developed a complex, multiscale, multifaceted conservation plan that integrates research, education, local community development, sustainable ecotourism, and policymaking.
Over the years, Maquipucuna has impacted more than 1,000 families and has been involved in many community development and ecotourism projects causing a positive impact.
SUCCESS STORY: YUNGUILLA
Yunguilla contains 60 families that own 6,400 acres of land to the east of Maquipucuna. Back in the early 90s the communities unsustainable farming practices threatened the integrity of the area as well as the Maquipucuna reserve.
Joining forces in 1995 to tackle projects such as reforestation and soil conservation it was until 1997 that Maquipucuna helped Yunguilla initiate its ecotourism venture.
Maquipucuna and the community raised the funds needed to develop a property for the community, which is now the community hostel, as well as the headquarters of a community run corporation that produces orchids, cheese, jams and crafts. Maquipucuna helped Yunguilla until the community had the capacity to run its projects independently.
Today, thanks to the vision and the support of Maquipucuna, and the trust and great leadership and social fabric of the community, Yunguilla has raised to become a model and independent community committed to sustainable development.
THE ANDEAN BEAR
The Andean Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus) is an endangered bear endemic to South America. These normally solitary bears visit Maquipucuna every year to feed on the Aguacatillo fruit where they can be easily seen by visitors between August and October.
Currently there ongoing research to identify individuals and study their behavior within the reserve.
Maquipucuna welcomes students and researchers from all over the world from schools and institutes such as UC Davis, The University of Georgia, Cornell, among others.
The research carried out at the reserve not only allows us better understanding of how the natural world works but how we can better protect it for the benefit of our community and selves.
We're always discovering something new at Maquipucuna and we have diverse research interests.
We've conducted several flora and fauna surveys, examined animal nutrition, inspected soil composition, recorded the biology of our Andean Spectacled Bears, and explored different sustanible and organic farming practices.
We're always looking for passionate researchers to use Maquipucuna as a study site. The scientific station is ideal for visiting researchers and is fully equipped with bathrooms, a kitchenette, and an ideal work space.