2 October 2014 | The vast majority of Ecuador’s forest communities live in poverty and are wholly dependent on their natural environment to sustain them.
“The forests, hills and mountains are like a pharmacy to us,” says one inhabitant.
But various forms of industrial development-among other threats- are threatening the forests. Illegal logging, road construction and water pollution are a few. The region’s increasing development means the extraction activities will only grow as time goes on.
But as the video explains, the REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) finance mechanism can serve as a solution to Ecuador’s challenge. A REDD program would enable these communities to benefit from their sustainable management of the forests while also helping to foster new initiatives.
Specifically, they are attempting to enhance a traditional system of agriculture producing cocoa called “chakras,” which also helps to maintain and enrich local biodiversity. A successful system could generate additional income for families improving forest health and that of the communities.
“Before, we had very little,” explains another inhabitant. “But now we earn enough from the cocoa that I can send my children to school, and we don’t have to cut down the trees.”