Agreement Protects Ecological Reserve in Ecuador
November 28, 2007 | From the field | Conservation & Sustainable Development

Fundacion Maquipucuna, a MacArthur grantee that works to secure sustainable livelihoods for rural communities in northwest Ecuador, recently reached an agreement that will help it protect the 500,000-acre Cotocachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve. Maquipucuna acquired the title for 98,000 acres of communal land adjacent to the reserve from the Comuna Rio Santiago Cayapas, the largest Afro-Ecuadorian community in the region. A portion of the land will be a community-protected area, while the remainder will produce organically certified cocoa for international markets. Maquipucuna has also helped coffee farmers obtain organic certification, form a roasting company, and create the Café Choco-Andes label. The goal is to ensure that farmers have suitable market incentives to continue restoring shade coffee plantations, which provide a buffer for the Reserve.