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On March 11th, 2020 Ceiba and the Loor family celebrated the signing of a 25-year conservation easement to protect a 430-acre remnant of one of the most threatened forest types in the world. The agreement is the happy culmination of a 15-year partnership during which Ceiba protected and managed the Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve in the Manabí Province on Ecuador’s central coast. It signals the transition of management from Ceiba to the Loor family, a goal from the beginning. This semi-deciduous tropical forest occupies a climatic transition between drier regions to the south, and wetter regions to the north, an important location to help local species adapt to a changing climate. Conservation easements are common conservation tools in the United States and other countries, but have yet to be widely implemented in Ecuador. Ceiba holds two of the five easements currently in existence in Ecuador, and was the first to implement an easement with a private landowner in 2000, establishing the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve.
With Ecuador’s government in the process of overhauling the country’s environmental laws, we hope to be involved in defining the role that conservation easements will play in preserving the amazing natural environments of this mega-diverse country. The commitment of the Loor family to protect their forest through an easement is matched by financial and technical incentives by Ceiba, to assist them in managing the forest reserve and its biological station that welcomes students, researchers, and tourists from around the world. Ceiba will continue to facilitate scientific research, educational programming, and monitoring in the Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve for years to come.