LOS CEDROS BIOLOGICAL RESERVE
The Rainforest Information Centre helped establish Los Cedros http://reservaloscedros.org/ in 1988 and we have been supporting it ever since. Due to the tireless work of reserve director Jose Decoux, the reserve has flourished in spite of the degradation of most of the surrounding rainforests.
Two US academics who have done research at Los Cedros are University of Oregon Professor Bitty Roy who says that “Los Cedros is the best preserved rainforest in Western Ecuador” and Blanca Rios Touma PhD UCLA who reports that Los Cedros is the only intact watershed on the west side of Ecuador.
Please support Los Cedros by making a donation (tax deductible for Australian tax payers) at our crowdfund site. http://www.fundmyplanet.org/projects/protecting-los-cedros-cloud-forest-reserve US donations over $200 are tax deductible via our partners, the Earthways Foundation. https://www.earthways.org/supporting/john-seed-small-grants-fund/
JANUARY 11 2017
As you'll see from Jose's email below, the government has handed the local communities responsibilities which include patrolling the reserve, maintaining the boundaries, training park guards and promoting environmental education in the local schools. This is a giant leap forward from having the inept and corrupt government responsible for these things but (of course!) no funding has been provided.
Los Cedros is the last intact watershed in Western Ecuador, please donate generously at our new crowdfund site http://www.fundmyplanet.org/projects/protecting-los-cedros-cloud-forest-reserve
For the Earth
From: Josef DeCoux [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Sunday, 1 January 2017 4:03 AM
To: John Seed; Daniel Thomas
Subject: New Years Update
31 de Diciembre 2016-Los Cedros
Could you get this little unhappy year end roundup out to the interested parties:
2016 is over and the situation is not very bright for conservation here in Ecuador.
The reserva Los Cedros has counted on the support of many of you folks receiving this. I want to thank you all and get you the year´s activities.
First off the process of community comanagement is still an ongoing process. We did get the comanagement agreement signed in a formal ceremony before the governor (representative of the president of Ecuador), the Ministry of Environment and our parochial government.
There was no provision for funding the activities and responsibilities assumed by the three local communities given the tasks agreed upon.
These include patrolling the reserve, maintaining the boundaries, training park guards and promoting environmental education in the local schools. The Ministry of Environment agreed to recognize the comanagement organization which would lead to the creation of an NGO but little progress has been made though meetings continue to be arranged. The Ministry of Environment missed the last one two weeks ago where their legal staff were to have presented models of organizational statues for a first reading and modification. This process will continue in ´17.
This year three inspections of a problematic area where we continue to have squatters active, 8 meetings with Environment representatives, 2 in Ibarra, were attended by the comanejo comunities and two processes to legally remove squatters initiated by the Ministry of Environment.
On a national level the persecution of environmental activists continues with the closure of Accion Ecologico, an NGO dedicated to advocating resistance to extractive industry, and the declaration of martial law in Indigenous communities affected by Chinese investments in open pit copper mines in the Cordillera del Condor. It is fair to say that a militant reaction to the forceful removal of a community resulted in the death of a police official in unclarified circumstances and prompted this intervention. With the uncertainty of oil investments making them less attractive, the government is bending over backwards to allow mega-mining projects to fund their development agenda.
A positive development has become a national issue. The kickbacks and outright bribes being collected by government officials in the oil and public works (Petroecuador, Odebretch) sectors are public knowledge and concern. In my humble opinion the same corruption will become evident in the speculative mining concession investment industry.
So things are looking grim as the government continues to bestow mining concessions to transnational interests, many of which appear to be purely for speculation. In the area of Los Cedros the concessions granted are still under consideration, though they cover more than half of the primary forests of our parish with the addition of new titles over all the adjacent 6000 hectares of the El Chontal Protected Forest. New environmental legislation, passed December 20, 2016, codificando responsibilities (Art 166) permit the revocation of protected status, after declaration of public domain, by a simple administrative declaration by the Ministry of Environment.
So ..... happy new year!
These maps show clearly the situation we are facing.