GEO - Cuellaje Ecuador

The mountain rainforests of Ecuador are among the most species-rich ecosystems on earth - and among the most endangered. Endangered spectacled bears and brown-headed spider monkeys live in the evergreen, mist-covered forests on the slopes of the Andes, and numerous orchids, ferns and amphibians can only be found here. For the people in the valleys, the forests provide crystal-clear drinking water. All this is threatened by mining, deforestation and growing arable land.
For 15 years, "GEO protects the rainforest" has been helping to protect precious cloud forest areas in the Intag region in northern Ecuador: In cooperation with the local organisation DECOIN and the eco-energy provider LichtBlick, 8,000 hectares of forest were bought up and placed under the control of the communities. Furthermore, road construction, logging, hunting and fishing are now prohibited in that area!

However, the community forests still have gaps, mostly due to former cattle pastures. These are now to be reforested with 28,000 trees. The seedlings of about a dozen native, partly rare species are produced in local tree nurseries. Among them are many thousands of "fodder trees", whose fruits are coveted by spectacled bears who still lack food in the shrunken habitats. Conflicts are therefore inevitable at the edge of the community forest of Cuellaje, as the bears attack the farmers' livestock.
We also want to support the local farmers with 2,000 fruit and shade trees for their organic cultivation of Arabica coffee: The highland coffee only thrives in the shade.

This way, not only gaps in the forest can be closed, but also the farmers' income can be secured in the long term.

Location: Ecuador
Reasons for forest degradation: Grazing
Partner: GEO protects the rainforest e.V.