Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Carbon calculation in Ecuador’s Choco forest

11 July, 2011 - 15:58 -- World Land Trust

From the benefits of reforestation to highlighting local issues, Galo shares his monthly update as a reserve ranger funded by the World Land Trust’s Keepers of the Wild appeal

Galo at Rio Canande

Galo plotting the Río Canandé Reserve so he can feed back tree statistics to the WLT Ecosystem Services Team. Photo © Fundacion Jocotoco.

In the past month, reserve ranger Galo (who is being funded through World Land Trust’s (WLT) Keepers of the Wild appeal) has marked out six plots in three different areas of Fundación Jocotoco's Río Canandé Reserve where he will measure the diameter and height of trees.

He will feed back this information to WLT’s Ecosystem Services team so they can do their carbon calculations for this project site. Galo is a strong believer in the benefits of WLT’s Carbon Balanced programme and is enthusiastic about engaging local communities. He said:

“There should be more opportunities given for local people to contribute to conservation, for example through reforestation campaigns.”

Galo is president of a community group and understands local people’s concerns over the lack of jobs and their worries that agricultural land is being used for conservation. He explained:

“Some people think that protected areas are good, others want protected areas far from the villages because they don’t see direct benefits from the reserves and see them as preventing their development.” He added: “More information and advice should be given to local people on how to protect the forests, how to make the most of the land by increasing agriculture production on smaller amounts of land.”

An ex-hunter himself, Galo understands the importance of these forests for people’s livelihoods. Yet, by understanding the need to protect land, Galo believes that people will then realise the benefit and importance of their natural environment. Galo sold his own land for conservation to Fundación Jocotoco 11 years ago and now has a regular, secure income to support his family. He explained:

“The former director of Jocotoco, Francisco Sornoza, told me about the importance of their work for the communities, for the children who live here, and explained the benefits of being a reserve ranger – so I decided to give it a go.”

Galo is now the head ranger at the reserve and is an excellent leader. This is why it is so important to that WLT works with in-country organisations that employ local people to protect and managed their reserves. Rangers like Galo are highly respected within local communities and become conservation ambassadors, encouraging local people to become actively involved in their work and showing them the benefits of protecting their environment.

WLT’s work at Rio Canandé

The Río Canandé Reserve in north-west Ecuador protects important Choco forest, home to a high number of species that exist nowhere else on Earth. This habitat is vital for these endemic species yet it continues to be deforested at an alarming rate, being logged and cleared for agriculture and monoculture plantations.

The World Land Trust is working with partner organisation, Fundación Jocotoco, to protect this threatened Choco forests through our Carbon Balanced programme. Since 2009, we have been funding the purchase of parcels of forest on the deforestation frontier, expanding our protected wildlife reserve while generating emissions offsets for our Carbon Balanced supporters.

As with all the rangers funded by our Keepers of the Wild appeal, Galo is posting regular up-dates on our website about his plight to protect threatened habitat and wildlife.

More information about the WLT Keepers of the Wild

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