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Protecting a Megadiverse Nation

Jocotoco runs a successful native tree nursery which they use to support their habitat rehabilitation activities.

March 17, 2022

Project partner Fundación Jocotoco protects critically threatened habitats and species in Ecuador. It has established a network of 16 reserves, safeguarding over 24,500 hectares. Their reserves protect significant populations of approximately 200 imperilled species.

Jocotoco has also reforested more than 1.6 million native trees. Its work covers areas not otherwise integrated in Ecuador’s existing protected areas and includes a separate reserve in the Galápagos Islands.

The Thin Green Line supported Jocotoco’s work over the past six months with emergency funding to maintain their conservation efforts following the loss of tourist income due to COVID-19.  The pandemic also compromised the food security of local communities around the reserves, which increased the risks of trespassing, hunting, and logging.

Thin Green Line’s support enabled Rangers to continuously patrol the reserves to protect habitat from encroachment, restore ecosystems and monitor threatened species to better inform future conservation actions.

Feature Image: A Jocotoco Ranger takes part in Emergency Rescue training in late 2021. Courtesy Fundación de Conservación Jocotoco.

Jocotoco employs 60 people including 40 rangers and field biologists. Fourteen Rangers at four reserves -Yunguilla, Buenventura, Copalinga and Jorupe – were provided full-time salary for three months, alongside a contribution to core operating costs including electricity and water for Rangers. Weatherproof uniforms, including waterproofs, and hats and gloves were also provided to help ensure Rangers’ good health while undertaking patrols.

According to Samanta E. Villegas, Development Officer at Jocotoco, new uniforms have added benefits.

“Uniforms allow community members and any potential encroachers to easily recognize that the rangers are conducting official business,” Samanta said. 

“This project also benefited Jocotoco’s joint activities with other important stakeholders, such as volunteers, visitors, local governments, research institutions and scientists, and partner conservation organisations,” said Samanta.

Two Jocotoco Rangers working at Narupa Reserve proudly display the new uniforms and patrol equipment provided by The Thin Green Line Foundation.

Support has allowed Rangers to continue important tasks across Jocotoco’s Reserves including reforestation works, as well as first aid training and emergency rescue training.

Maintaining a Ranger presence around these reserves throughout the pandemic has supported communities and ensured wildlife remains protected during a critical period. Thank you to Avaaz for the funds for this project and many others, which enabled Rangers to continue their critical work during the pandemic.

Ecuador is the smallest of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries, as designated by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, and harbours an astounding number of ecosystems and species. Unfortunately, the country has sustained the highest deforestation rates in South America over the last 50 years.

Thank you to Fundación de Conservación Jocotoco for your commitment to Ranger welfare!

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We believe the practical, direct action of rangers is the most necessary and effective way to overcome the environmental challenges of our time. Thin Green Line is a global not-for-profit conservation organisation.