Un-BEE-lievable news in Ecuador
Strategic Area: Species
Content Type: News
We have exciting news, thanks to donors like you!
We need bees. We may take them and other pollinators for granted, but they’re vital to stable, healthy food supplies and key to the varied and nutritious diets we need.
But bees are in trouble. Data shows bee populations dwindling more and more each year. This decline is caused by a combination of stresses – loss of habitat and food sources, exposure to pesticides, and the effects of climate change.
We are excited to share that your support is making difference. Thanks to you, local communities in Ecuador JUST protected 60,599 acres of habitat for native bee populations in the tropical dry forest!
On November 12, 2020, the Municipality of Puyango approved the expansion of Puyango Municipal Conservation Area, bringing it to a total size of 71,622 acres. The area protects our planet’s greatest pollinators, as well as sources of water and one of the last populations of howler monkeys in southern Ecuador.
Puyango Municipal Conservation Area is dominated by humid forest and tropical dry forest. Tropical dry forest is the most threatened ecosystem in Ecuador.
Puyango’s forests are the most important habitat for nearly 90 native bee species found in southern Ecuador. To protect this endangered area – and its buzzing inhabitants – Nature and Culture worked closely with local communities to provide training and education on the value of their environment and the impact it has on their well-being.
Puyango’s abundant and diverse bee populations already provided a source of income to communities through the honey they produced. However, community members were not harvesting the honey sustainably and bee populations were at risk.
Thanks to you, Nature and Culture provided training to communities from the Mancomunidad of Meliponas to improve reforestation efforts, beekeeping, and honey harvesting techniques. Community members were taught how to improve the domestication of bees rather than extract honey from wild beehives. As a result, communities increased their honey production while also protecting these important pollinators for their local agriculture. Community members now have 4,600 domesticated beehives, benefitting approximately 160 families!
Additionally, community members saw that by caring for their forest, they could protect important resources. They became committed partners for its conservation.
“Thanks to the bees, people are becoming aware that they should no longer deforest,” says Milton Guaicha, a technician from the Mancomunidad of Meliponas.
With support from Nature and Culture, the Municipality of Puyango recently identified the habitat of native bee populations so that these areas could be protected. Puyango Municipal Conservation Area was declared as a result – one of the first reserves created in Ecuador to protect our planet’s important pollinators!
Not only does the area protect bees, but it also conserves habitat home to one of the last populations of mantled howler monkeys in southern Ecuador, as well as the endangered grey-cheeked parakeet (Brotogeris pyrrhoptera) and vulnerable American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus). Additionally, Puyango Municipal Conservation Area safeguards critical water sources for local populations.
Puyango Municipal Conservation Area was a result of collaboration between Nature and Culture, the Municipality of Puyango, FORAGUA, and communities from the Mancomunidad of Meliponas. The area was expanded thanks to support from the Andes Amazon Fund, BOS+, the Belgium Cooperation, and generous people like you.
“This is a historic declaration,” says Bruno Paladines, Nature and Culture conservationist. “For the first time, a conservation area is created in Ecuador to protect bees, pollinators highly threatened by climate change and deforestation.”
With your help, Nature and Culture will continue to work with the Municipality to ensure sustainable management and lasting conservation impact. We will also continue to collaborate with local communities on sustainable beekeeping initiatives.
Thank you for making this achievement possible! We hope that this bit of good news inspires you to continue fighting for nature and culture.