Biodiversity and Habitat Conservation

The Ceiba Foundation has been dedicated to the conservation of tropical habitats since 1997. To best implement and promote conservation action, we focus on community involvement, education, and research. We promote the empowerment of local landowners and communities and encourage them to actively participate in sustainable management of their land. For example, rather than procuring land for conservation, we work with local landowners to find ways to promote the sustainable use of their land while also providing suitable habitat for native flora and fauna. This involves collaboration with landowners to prioritize areas that are best for conservation while allocating other areas for agroforestry or crop cultivation so that landowners can use their natural resources to generate a sustainable income.

Coastal Dry Forests

The central coast of Ecuador is a long-isolated but highly threatened region where a uniquely seasonal climate combine with steep coastal mountains to produce ecological conditions, and a host of plants and animals, found nowhere else on Earth

The Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve, Ceiba’s second major conservation project in Ecuador, is the result of a collaboration between the foundation and Sr. Eudaldo (‘Lalo’) Loor.  For years, Ceiba staffed the reserve and oversaw operation and management of visitors, researchers, volunteers, and student groups.  Today, Lalo’s family has taken over management of the reserve, and Ceiba will sign another conservation easement with them to guarantee protection of the forest and its wildlife for years to come.  Sr. Loor’s commitment to sustainable land management practices and habitat protection as well as his involvement in water and soil protection and regional economic growth demonstrates how environmental conservation and sustainable development can go hand in hand.

Lalo Loor Reserve

Cloud Forests

Cloud forests on the high slopes of the Andes, now seen as an massive engine of biodiversity, are home to hundreds of species of orchids, birds, and trees, as well as iconic animals like the Spectacled Bear

The El Pahuma Orchid Reserve is the first example of a successful collaboration between the Ceiba Foundation and local landowners keen to conserve their forest but lacking the financial and logistical ability to do so.  Ceiba worked for years with the Lima family to establish the stunning cloud forest and diverse orchid flora of El Pahuma via the first true conservation easement in South America.  Today, the Lima family continues to own and operate the reserve which boasts over 200 species of orchids and more than 150 species of birds.  The trails and waterfalls are a popular tourist destination, due in part to its proximity to Quito, and the reserve now provides a sustainable income for the family while simultaneously serving as a model for other forest owners in the region to imitate.

El Pahuma Reserve

Outdoor Education

River cleanliness affects every person who uses rural stream water in their daily lives - local teachers, trained to assess water quality, play a key role in shaping community opinions about river stewardship

We sponsor public outreach and education by providing and maintaining educational displays in the Nature Center at El Pahuma Orchid Reserve and the EcoCenter at the Lalo Loor Dry Forest.  Not only do these displays provide information for visitors on the local ecosystems and natural and cultural histories of the region, they also provide a space for seminars, special events, and education programs for local school groups and communities.  On the coast, we work directly with local teachers and students to integrate environmental sciences in the school curriculum.  Our support for community centers and libraries is an integral part of our presence in the local communities as we hope to provide resources and training for local students interested in environmental sciences and sustainable development.

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Studying the impacts of people on nature, and the effectiveness of conservation strategies, provides data critical to the management strategies we use to protect biodiversity and promote community livelihoods

Researchers, interns, and volunteers contribute to the majority of the data that we collect for our various research and conservation projects.  As we work closely with local landowners on private land, it is important to disseminate information about what we are researching and why it is important.  Sharing our results and involving local communities in data collection for research projects keeps local people engaged and interested in these projects while providing training for aspiring conservation biologists. The data are analyzed to provide insight to the status of the flora and fauna which helps Ceiba recommend courses of action to conserve important forest habitats, protect and improve water quality, and minimize negative human impacts on native flora and fauna.

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