Site location and ownership
The Jorupe Reserve is located at the very southern tip of Ecuador close to the Peruvian border. It is one of eight reserves owned and managed by Fundación Jocotoco, an Ecuadorian wildlife conservation charity.
The Jorupe Reserve protects one of the most extensive little-disturbed areas of dry forests left in south-western Ecuador. It is comprised of 1,438 hectares of deciduous forest, dominated by statuesque Ceiba trees. The forest provides habitat for almost 200 species of birds, including 15 globally threatened birds such as the Henna-hooded Foliage-gleaner (Hylocryptus erythrocephalus) (classified as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species). Red-masked Parakeet (Aratinga erythrogenys) (classified as near threatened) are also present.
Increasing population pressure, and forest destruction for agriculture, has resulted in much of the Tumbesian dry forests being cleared or badly degraded. Only 1% of forest here remains in good condition and many endemic species are in danger of extinction.
The WLT has supported work at Jorupe through land acquisition and through the WLT reforestation programme, described below.
WLT reforestation programme
WLT has supported reforestation at the Jorupe Reserve since 2006 and by 2010 over 110,000 new trees had been established on some 100 hectares of previously degraded lands. This has helped to expand and link formerly isolated forest patches, extending the continuous habitat available for wildlife at the reserve.
Fundación Jocotoco works closely with communities living around the Jorupe Reserve. Some local land owners, having sold forest sites to Fundación Jocotoco, are now reserve wardens and passionate local advocates for forest conservation.
Jorupe is located a few kilometres north east of Macará, allowing convenient access for educational visits. Communities also derive livelihood benefits from tourists visiting the reserve.
The reserve’s forested slopes capture rain water and moisture during the short wet season and slowly release it into the Jorupe River, the source of clean drinking water for Macará. Fundación Jocotoco was awarded a medal by the people of Macará as an acknowledgement of these ecosystem services.
Fundación Jocotoco intends to increase the size of this reserve to 2,500 ha in future years, if sufficient funds can be raised.
Fundación Jocotoco is also a member of Bosques sin Fronteras, a consortium of NGOs from southern Ecuador and northern Peru working to improve conservation in the Tumbesian region. Their ultimate aim is to protect this unique habitat and ensure that species such as the Tumbesian Cat stand a better chance of survival.