Where do we work?
We protect some of the largest water and carbon reserves in Latin America.
We focus on whole ecosystem protection from the Ecuadorian Amazon, to the Andes Mountains, to the dry forest.
In Ecuador, we’ve identified five large geographic areas we call mosaics that we are working to protect and manage holistically.
MUNICIPAL WATER SOURCES PROTECTED
INDIGENOUS AND LOCAL CULTURES SUPPORTED
What do we do?
In Ecuador, Nature and Culture protects biodiverse hotspots, carbon stores, and water resources for present and future generations. We also provide pathways for sustainable livelihoods for local communities.
Our expert conservation work with both local communities and governments to provide resources and support in creating protected areas.
Climate change is the greatest threat to life on our planet. Deforestation and forest degradation are one of the main causes of climate change in the tropics. Nature and Culture International conserves forests and water resources that help local communities adapt to climate change. We mitigate climate change by reducing deforestation and ecosystem degradation which allows forests to capture and store carbon from the atmosphere.
The Amazonian Platform in the Ecuadorian Amazon safeguards and connects 11 million acres, forming Ecuador’s largest biological corridor and sequestering 2.3 billion tons of carbon. Collaborating with Indigenous nationalities and local governments, protected areas were established in Pastaza, Zamora Chinchipe, and Morona Santiago, incorporating Indigenous knowledge and sustainable practices. The project prioritizes inclusivity and equitable resource allocation, with the ultimate goal of preserving the Amazon ecosystem and promoting regional sustainability while sequestering significant amounts of carbon.
The connectivity of wild places such as habitats and ecosystems is key to the conservation and survival of animals and the preservation of ecosystem services, such as water. Nature and Culture supports the conservation of species by protecting the migration of populations through the creation of longitudinal and altitudinal connectivity corridors and large landscapes.
Nature and Culture is working to protect a biological corridor that stretches almost 5 million acres along the tropical Ecuadorian and Peruvian Andes, one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. This corridor includes the first officially recognized biological corridor in Ecuador- the Sangay Podocarpus.
We protect ecosystems of varying altitudes to allow for species movement as they adapt to the consequences of climate change. For example, animals will need to move to higher altitudes when they experience temperature changes. In Ecuador, we connect the Amazon with the Andes Mountain ranges.
Biosphere Reserves are used for testing sustainable development initiatives and are designated by the United Nations. Nature and Culture has helped create 4 Biosphere Reserves in Ecuador, two of which protect the largest continuous tropical dry forest on the Pacific coast, which is one of the most threatened ecosystems in the region.
In Ecuador, water sources are deteriorating at an accelerated rate, highlighting the urgent need for sustainable and integrated management of water resources in the country. Nature and Culture ensures healthy ecosystems that provide ecosystem services and sustain the communities that depend on them.
A Water Protection Area is an area where maintenance, conservation, and protection of the water source is of public interest. Thousands of people depend on these water sources for food production and daily consumption. Nature and Culture provides technical and legal support to declare the Water Protected Areas. In addition, we have developed a national map for the protection of critical water resources for human consumption and food security in Ecuador.
In 2016 Nature and Culture, together with 12 municipalities in southern Ecuador, formed the Regional Water Fund (FORAGUA) to finance the management of Municipal Conservation and Sustainable Use Areas that protect important water sources for human consumption. FORAGUA was established as a financial mechanism that raises funds through environmental taxes. The funds collected are exclusively invested in conservation, reforestation, and restoration of water recharge zones.
Nature and Culture provides technical and logistical support to local and international universities and other NGOs for the monitoring, evaluation, and research of threatened species and ecosystems. Thanks to this research, we have taken action to prevent species extinction and found strategies that allow us to conserve biodiverse landscapes for the long term.
Nature and Culture provides logistical support to universities and other institutions for the monitoring of critically endangered species. We currently support the monitoring of the last populations of the American crocodile and the golden-mantled howler monkey in the dry forest and the behavior and distribution of the Ecuadorian vizcacha in the Andes.
Nature and Culture has managed the San Francisco Research Station (SFRS) and Laipuna Research Station. The German Research Foundation funds the station. The largest research program on the tropical mountain forest is based at the SFRS.
We manage 8 private reserves which protect the habits of threatened species. In the Amazon, we have a reserve that protects the orange-throated tanager. It’s known to be found in very remote areas of Ecuador.
Some of Nature and Culture’s most important conservation successes have come from working directly with local and Indigenous communities to maintain connections to their land, strengthen land titles, fortify their collective rights, build capacity, and generate income sustainably.
Nature and Culture works with local and Indigenous communities to assist in land titling and other legal issues. As part of our conservation process, these communities are consulted and asked to provide insights into their worldview and their current sustainability practices. From these conversations, we co-develop the action plan to conserve their land. We also provide skill-building workshops and training on administration, finance, governance, and human rights.
Vainillo is a very important species of tree for soil conservation and regeneration. Its fruit is used in food and pharmaceutical industries and to tan leather. Nature and Culture supports small producers in the sustainable production of vainillo. In addition, we support the beekeepers in improving the process of harvesting and marketing honey from native stingless bees. This project has reduced the harvesting of wild hives and increased native bee populations.
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Our local partners
Nature and Culture works together with universities, public and private institutions, communities, and local governments to protect biologically and culturally diverse landscapes. Our partners are fundamental to achieving our conservation objectives. We believe that conservation is only possible when working together with the people who live in the territories we aim to protect.
Our Team in Ecuador
We have field experts specializing in geography, law, and conservation who support communities, organizations, and local and national governments to protect biologically and culturally diverse landscapes.