[crb_slide image=”https://www.rainforesttrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/White-tailed-Jay.jpg” credits=”Photo by Fundacion Jocotoco” title=”” text=””]
With Rainforest Trust’s support over the last 15 years, Ecuadorian partner Fundación Jocotoco has expanded its network of protected reserves by nearly 25,000 acres, helping to ensure the survival of Ecuador’s most threatened bird species, including the El Oro Parakeet and the Jocotoco Antpitta.
This partnership, however, provides Fundación Jocotoco with funds to do more than just purchase land. The $2.3 million dollars that Rainforest Trust has provided towards operational and protection costs over the last ten years help sustain Fundación Jocotoco as a world conservation leader while allowing the organization to build towards a sustainable future.
“Rainforest Trust has supported all our conservation activities, from land purchase and habitat restoration to the building of eco-tourism facilities,” said Dr. Martin Schaefer, Fundación Jocotoco’s President.
“The long-standing support provided by Rainforest Trust has enabled us to grow from a local NGO to the most efficient conservation-oriented NGO within Ecuador, recognized both nationally and internationally.”
Funds from Rainforest Trust pay the salaries of forest guards that make a real on-the-ground difference for endangered species. Not only do these guards patrol Fundación Jocotoco reserves to ensure the safety of species like the Black-breasted Puffleg, which is found within a single reserve, but they also work as outreach agents, engaging communities to develop local support, which is essential for the long-term success of Jocotoco’s reserves.
|Ecuadorian Avifauna: White-tailed Jay
© Fundación Jocotoco
|Umbrella Bird Lodge
© Fundación Jocotoco
| Buenaventura Reserve Forest Guard
© Fundación Jocotoco
“Rainforest Trust has played an essential role in protecting Ecuador’s wildlife by ensuring that Fundación Jocotoco is equipped with the necessary resources to make real on-the-ground protection possible, both now and in the future,” said Rocío Merino, Executive Director of Jocotoco.
Construction of essential infrastructure needed to meet growing conservation demands has been made possible by contributions from Rainforest Trust. One example is the Urraca Lodge, built at the Jorupe Reserve in southern Ecuador. Designed with visitor education in mind, the six-room lodge is the only place in Ecuador that travelers can spend the night in the threatened Tumbesian tropical forest. The lodge, which employs nearby residents, helps sustain the local economy, while also providing Jocotoco with a steady income stream that makes the reserve a viable model for sustainable conservation efforts.
Again this March, Rainforest Trust reaffirmed its long-standing commitment to Jocotoco by pledging a further $180,000 in direct support of Jocotoco’s protection and management costs. This includes the employment of 18 forest guards and two administrative support staff members.
“Fundación Jocotoco has a strong track of conservation success and we are proud to play an on-going effort in fostering its impressive work since,” said Dr. Paul Salaman, CEO of Rainforest Trust. “With an eye towards the future, we will continue to support Jocotoco to build institutional capacity to meet the growing conservation threats in Ecuador through our new Sustainability Fund.”
In 2014, the Rainforest Trust Sustainability Fund was created to provide ongoing support to in-country partners like Fundación Jocotoco for protection and management efforts. Thanks to a generous matching gift from Rainforest Trust supporter Urs-Peter Stäuble, the next $15,000 in donations to Sustainability Fund will be doubled (up to $30,000).
Covering an area roughly the size of Colorado, Ecuador is arguably one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. The Andean nation contains almost 10% of the world’s plant species, 532 amphibian species and 1,610 bird species. Despite its natural wealth, many of Ecuador’s tropical ecosystems are seriously threated by deforestation from agriculture and mining. Since its creation in 1998, Fundación Jocotoco has led efforts to protect these areas and the endangered species they hold.