Help Save a Forest

Leading Ecuadorian NGO Jatun Sacha needs funds to save an important area of primary rainforest. The area, which makes up part of the Jatun Sacha BIological Station, is threatened by a planned road. The only way to stop the road is to buy the land. The cost for purchasing the entire strip will amount to almost $60,000. The money needs to be raised before the end of the year if the road is to be stopped.

Please distribute this email far and wide. It's critical that Jatun Sacha come up with the necessary funds to protect an oasis of biodiversity before the imminent construction of a road. Hope you can help!

Dear Friend,

We are trying to save a vital parcel of the Jatun Sacha Biological Station; we would greatly appreciate it if you could raise funds for this. The follwing is a letter that we have sent to a
number of organizations for this purpose, use it if you please.

Thanks for your help.

In July 1989, the government of Ecuador approved the establishment of the Jatun Sacha Foundation. A private, non-profit Ecuadorian foundation, Jatun Sacha is now one of the two largest non-profit conservation organizations in Ecuador. The foundation owns and manages three biological field stations and through these promotes biological conservation, research, education, community extension, and ecotourism in Ecuador. Jatun Sacha, the first of the biological stations, established in 1985, and named the Second International Childrens Rainforest in 1993, now protects about 2000 hectares (5000 acres) of Tropical Wet Forest. Field research has demonstrated that the Jatun Sacha forest is also among the most biologically diverse tropical areas on earth. The Ecuadorian National Park System has no present or future plans to protect forest
of this type.

The 400 hectare (1000 acre) Guandera Biological Station established in 1994 protects some of the last high altitude inter-Andean forest left standing in Ecuador; 4% remains standing. Likewise, the 3000 hectare (7500 acre) Bilsa Biological Station protects some of the last tropical wet forest standing in western Ecuador, of which 97% has already been deforested.

Besides protecting ecologically important forest habitats, the foundation's three biological stations are nationally and internationally recognized as leaders in the development of innovative and concrete programs in community agroforestry, environmental education, and public health. The foundation co-manages the Ecuadorian National Herbarium and co-owns and manages the Caba+/-as Ali+/-ahui ecotourism hotel. The foundation has been selectedby Care-USAID to manage a $3.5 million community reforestation project in the Esmeraldas province in northwestern Ecuador.

The Jatun Sacha Biological Station, founded in 1985, is a center for field research and education in the tropical rainforest region of the upper Napo river, in Amazonian Ecuador. Serving Ecuadorian and international researchers, the station has sponsored numerous research projects documenting the rich biodiversity found in these forests. Biological inventories have been conducted of the plants,
birds, butterflies, and medicinal plants, while monitoring studies have been completed to further document ecological relationships between faunal and floral communities.

In recent years the station has established the Amazon Plant Conservation Center. Besides teaching useful agroforestry techniques to local farmers intended to help conserve forests outside of the reserve, the center has developed an educational botanical garden and engages in reforestation and agroforestry research both inside and outside the biological station. Data collected from the center's experiments has been and will continue to be published to provide a base for further reforestation projects in the Amazon region. Students from universities in Ecuador and throughout the world are suppported in their efforts to study tropical biology as they
participate in the station's volunteer program. Ecuadorian university students receive finacial support to complete thesis projects and participate in practicums with station staff in reforestation, community extension, and education projects. This economic support is unique in this country and gives many Ecuadorian students an opportunity for hands-on experience in conservation work
in this biological hotspot.

The Station protects close to 2000 hectares (5000 acres), of which 80% is primary tropical wet forest (Holdridge system) and the remainder is secondary growth. Of these, 161 hectares are separated from the main block, but joined by forest. The strip of forest in between is owned by five farmers and recently has become a prime target for logging. During February of this year, the leaders of 12 local communities got together with the local authorities asking for a road to be opened. This road was approved and soon will be cut through the strip of connecting primary forest scarring this incredible forest.

This scar could grow as the five forested properties are made accesible by road and logged. The only solution that we see to stop this imminent deforestation is to buy this entire area which would then unite the reserve into one block. The road is a certainty but, purchase and protection of the rest would eliminate the possibility that a 1 kilometer path of primary forest between two portions of the Jatun Sacha Biological Station be permanently lost to chain saws.

If we are not successful in connecting this forest to the larger remaining forested portion of the reserve, the 161 hectares will become and island. This will isolate the already few existing mammal populations the outstanding biodiversity inside Jatun Sacha will be reduced. The 532 bird species and 863 butterfly species and countless other lifeforms will be threatened if pastures replace mature phase forest in this area. Over 2500 plant species have been documented at Jatun Sacha. Some are locally rare and endangered, while others have a traditional medicinal use and might not yet be documented. Many economically useful and ecologically important plants will be lost if we do not move soon.

The cost for purchasing the entire strip will amount to almost $60,000. We are expecting approximately $23,000 in immediate support from the Children's Rainforest groups in Sweden and Germany. The Children's Rainforest group in the United States and Save the Rainforest, Inc. have sent $5000 and are expected to contribute an additional $10,000 next year. But, that will be too late to help, we need to purchase the majority of this forested area this year. We would like you to consider joining our international effort to maintain the integrity of the Jatun Sacha Biological Station by granting $2000 for the immediate purchase of this connecting strip of primary rainforest. All of us at Jatun Sacha have worked hard for the last 12 years on a shoestring budget to develop the Jatun Sacha Biological Station and its associated research and community extension programs. For the future of the reserve and the students and communities who will benefit from the reserve's presence, we hope that you will give serious consideration to our funding request.


Michael McColm, Ph.D.
Vice President
Tim Sulser
Jatun Sacha Foundation, Casilla 17-12-867, Quito, Ecuador
Phone: (593 2) 441-592 Fax: (593 2) 250-976

Forwarded to RIC by Marika Holmgren, Grassroots Coordinator