Good news from Ecuador! The Laguna de Cube, a Ramsar site in the southeastern portion of Mache-Chindul Ecological Reserve, has received an award from the World Wetland Network. The project was selected for the newly-established “Green Globe” award for best practices in wetlands restoration.
The Laguna de Cube is an important wetland in the Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena biodiversity hotspot. It’s also a popular attraction for national and foreign visitors.
Since 2004, CI-Ecuador—along with the Ministry of the Environment, partner nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and local communities—has helped run several projects in the region, including:
- Reforestation: using native species to capture carbon and help offset greenhouse gas emissions. Through this project, CI facilitated a strategic collaboration with partners SC Johnson and Pearl Jam to offset their carbon footprints. In addition to habitat restoration, this initiative includes an agroforestry component, which aims to improve the living conditions and food security of local communities, through the production of banana and cacao. So far, 103 hectares (254 acres) have been replanted.
- Capacity-building: raising local awareness about the ecological and economic value of the wetlands and the threats posed to them by human activities.
- Ecotourism: supporting Fundación El Kaimán, a local organization that represents people from the Laguna de Cube, in the design and implementation of a business plan for ecotourism activities. Community-based tourism provides a powerful economic incentive for local people to protect ecosystems.
Each of these activities is playing a critical role in reversing the degradation of this important wetland.
Katy Puga is the communications coordinator for CI-Ecuador.