The local population in the area around the nature reserve mainly lives on cattle breeding, milk production and illegal logging. Only a few families in the nearby village Las Tolas support alternative sources of income, like ecotouristic projects or hand-made jewelry. Besides poverty, of course, the major problem for sustainable nature conservation in the region is the lack of environmental awareness.
Thus we regularly organize environmental education workshops in the reserve. Hoping to promote more awareness amongst the next generation, we are currently working with a group of local kids from Las Tolas. Interns can help us planning and realizing our environmental education workshops.
Habitat fragmentation is a major problem in the Chocó region. While illegal logging and a progressing agricultural frontier are the main reasons for the habitat loss, there are also several minor reasons for deforestation. E.g., in order to maintain fences for their cattle, local people generally cut trees to replace the old rotten posts.
But there are alternatives, so-called “living fences”-plants can be used instead. In collaboration with two neighbors we grow those plants and distribute them to the local farmers.
Furthermore we have created a small tree nursery with saplings of primary forest trees to support local reforestation projects.
Our Conservation Work.
A major aim of Un poco del Chocó is the conservation of the remaining rainforest around the reserve. Therefore we work in environmental education, participate in local conservation workshops and support sustainable land-use. Furthermore we work together with other local conservation initiatives and Ecuadorian NGOs.
A good part of our conservation work is voluntary commitment. Though we partly finance this through our income at the biological station (internships, courses, ecotourism) and donations.
“Living fences” Project and Reforestation
A sub-project we supported in 2013/2014 was the declaration of a new important bird area (IBA; program of BirdLife International) in Ecuador. As ecotourism is a possible sustainable income and especially the birding tourism is a very interesting opportunity for our region, the local partner of BirdLife, Aves y Conservación, organized several workshops in order to declare the conservation areas of Pachijal and Mashpi as a new IBA. We contributed valuable data from our monitoring work at the biological station and the area completed several categories to achieve the status of an IBA.
We now form part of the local support group of the IBA Mashpi-Pachijal.
In 2012, the Quito Metropolitan District declared the area around the river Pachijal an “Area of conservation and sustainable land-use”. But the declaration itself doesn’t protect the forest remnants from deforestation. Therefore the district administration realizes workshops in order to analyse the various conservation threats and to solve these problems hand in hand with the local people. We formed part of the management board and participated in monthly workshops held in the different parts of the conservation area.
Important Bird Area Mashpi-Pachijal
Local Conservation Workshops
The annual X-mas bird counts of the Audubon Society are a citizen science project that makes an enormous contribution to conservation. Audubon and other organizations use data collected in this longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations - and to help guide conservation action.
Every year in December and January we are busy participating in several X-mas bird counts throughout Ecuador.
As the official compiler of the Mindo-Tandayapa count circle, Nicole helps organizing the event in Mindo and compiles the data afterwards.
Since December 2012 we also organize our own X-mas bird count in the nature reserve and its surroundings, contributing data to the new Los Bancos-Milpe count circle.