El Pahuma

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ResearchGuidelines & Conditions


Conduct Research at a Ceiba Project Site

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Study of canopy insectsPart of the mission of the Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation is to promote the study of tropical ecosystems, their flora and fauna, and how they are viewed and utilized by local people.  We encourage researchers interested in the study of tropical systems, through biological, ecological, anthropological or sociological research, to consider conducting studies at one of Ceiba's project sites:  the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve, in Pichincha province, and the Lalo Loor Dry Forest in Manabí province. Please read the guidelines below before applying to conduct research at Ceiba Foundation sites.

Guidelines for Researchers

As a researcher, It is your responsibility to obtain the appropriate permits for conducting their research in Ecuador.  You are required to conduct yourself at all times in a professional manner while participating in Ceiba projects or working at Ceiba sites.  You are requested to acknowledge the Ceiba Foundation and its sites (e.g., reserves, etc.) in any publications stemming from research projects.  You must produce and submit a final 1-page written summary of the research results, which must be received by Ceiba no later than 60 days after the conclusion of the study.  These reports will be made available to landowners and local communities as per Ceiba's working relationship with them. You are expected to provide Ceiba with copies of publications that result from your work, and are requested to provide species lists and other baseline data collected that will help future researchers.  You also are expected and encouraged to pass on your knowledge, and the information you have collected, to local people whenever possible, and to strive at all times to involve those with whom you routinely interact (landowners, local students, field assistants, et al.). Ceiba may request you to give a public presentation about your area of study to the local community.

Researcher FAQ

Answers to frequently asked questions by researchers and volunteers can be found in the FAQ sheet.

Liability and Insurance

Researchers that work on Ceiba projects or at our project sites are encouraged to carry personal health and accident insurance that covers any injuries or illnesses sustained while abroad.  All approved researchers, volunteers and interns that work on Ceiba-managed sites must sign a standard waiver releasing Ceiba from responsibility for any illness, accident, or injury incurred during their stay in Ecuador.  The Ecuadorian landscape can be quite rugged, and conducting field work in Ceiba sites will require that you to be in good physical condition.  Researchers should consult their local physician or travel health agency to obtain necessary or recommended vaccinations for travel and work abroad.

In-Country Travel

Ceiba can help you arrange transport from the airport to the site(s) of your field work via public bus or private transportation services.  Please contact us if you would like further assistance with your travel plans.

Project Termination

To date, we have never had cause to dismiss a researcher and we are confident in the qualifications and professionalism of scientists and students that study in Ceiba-managed reserves. However, Ceiba reserves the right to dismiss any researcher from a project site, for any reason deemed sufficiently severe by Ceiba and the local site managers.  Persons subject to dismissal will be notified in writing of the termination of their research project and the reasons for expulsion.  Expulsion of participants may result from cases such as:  1) gross deviations from approved research plan, 2) misuse of site facilities, 3) improper professional or personal conduct, 4) misrepresentation of Ceiba and our goals and 5) violation of management guidelines in reserves, 6) Failure to obtain appropriate research permits.

Researcher Rates

Click here for current rates for visiting and working at Ceiba-managed reserves.

Researchers are responsible for their own housing and living expenses in Ecuador.  At the present time, we do not offer grants or other financial support for researchers.

Payment for your first month of housing, or for your entire stay if less than one month must be received by Ceiba at least 5 working days prior to your arrival at the project site.  Payment is accepted in U.S. dollars only by check, cash or money order at either Ceiba's U.S. office or at our office in Ecuador (contact info and maps).  You must make payment before arriving at the research site.

Latin American citizens (Central and South America), may be eligible for subsidized housing at project sites.  Please contact us for details.

Application Procedure

Students and scientists interested in conducting research in Ceiba sites should submit the application materials listed below - incomplete applications will not be considered.  Researchers are expected to comply with the regulations and guidelines described on this webpage, including the general responsibilities.  While we will consider proposals on any relevant topic, we are particularly encouraging research related to orchid systematics, ecology and conservation, the ecology of the Spectacled Bear, montane and/or dry forest herpetofauna and avifauna, and the relationship between dry forest conservation and water quality.  Please note that researchers are responsible for obtaining the appropriate research/collection permits and visas from the government of Ecuador.  Researchers will not be allowed to begin work at Ceiba sites until all appropriate permits and visas are obtained from Ecuador, so we urge you to begin the permitting process as soon as possible. Ceiba can provide you with guidance on the proper authorities with whom to correspond. 

To apply, send the following materials to Ceiba no later than 45 days prior to your intended start date.  Applications should be mailed to the address below:

    1. Ceiba research application (download fillable PDF file).
    2. Your CV (curriculum vitae) or resume.
    3. A research abstract in Spanish - 500 words or less, briefly stating the objectives, hypotheses, methods and expected results of your research.
    4. A 5-page max. research proposal (in English or Spanish) detailing background, objectives and hypotheses, methods, expected results, anticipated publications, schedule and sources of funding; please provide a thorough description of any collections, introductions or other manipulations you propose to make.
    5. A $25 non-refundable processing fee (check or money order in U.S. dollars).

You may email or fax items 1-4, but we must receive your payment by regular mail or via our online donation system before your application can be considered. If you pay your processing fee online, we ask that you please check the box to pay the additional 2% service fee. Applicants who are already in Ecuador may submit the materials and application fee in person to Ceiba's representative in Quito (contact Ceiba for details). Please send all materials to:

Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation
Volunteer & Research Coordinator
301 S. Bedford Street, Suite 7A
Madison, WI 53703  USA
Tel:  (608) 230-5550
Email Ceiba

You will be notified within 30 days of receipt of all your application materials if your research project has been approved - please plan your research schedule accordingly.  Ceiba may suggest alterations or other conditions of approval to your project, for example, to minimize its impact on the site ecosystem.

Mission and Goals of Ceiba

The Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation is a non profit organization dedicated to the preservation and rehabilitation of tropical habitats, and the conservation of their plants and animals.  Our mission is to sponsor scientific research, provide public education and support community-based actions that promote the conservation of ecosystem integrity and biodiversity.  Ceiba's specific objectives are:  1) support community-based wildlife and habitat conservation efforts in tropical South and Central America, 2) implement resource management practices that maintain ecosystem integrity and biodiversity, 3) teach applied ecology and management principles in field courses, seminars and technical training workshops, 4) monitor the impacts of human land uses on ecosystems, habitats and species diversity, and 5) facilitate communication between conservation organizations, farmers, scientists, and resource managers.


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