Conservation of biodiversity, forests, and mitigation and adaptation to climate change
Project descriptionTitle: Conservation of biodiversity, forests, and mitigation and adaptation to climate change
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Environment
Overall term: 2013 to 2017
Yasuni Biosphere Reserve in Ecuador‘s northern Amazon region covers an area of 27,400 square kilometres. With its unparalleled flora and fauna, it ranks as one of the most species-rich places in the world. In the 10,220 square kilometre Yasuni National Park alone, which is part of the biosphere reserve‘s core zone, there are 1,344 different species of fauna and over 2,700 species of flora. The region also has extraordinary cultural diversity: in addition to the mestizo population, indigenous peoples such as the Huaorani, Shuar and Quechua also live there, as do the Tagaeri and Taromenane tribes which choose to live in isolation.
Permits to drill for oil have been awarded for about half of the park’s land area and 65 per cent of the biosphere reserve. As a result, water and soil have in places been contaminated by toxic waste from the oil extraction process. There has been massive degradation along the access roads to the oil fields due to deforestation and illegal hunting. This is also causing social conflicts.
The local population and government and non-governmental organisations contribute to the protection and sustainable development of the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve.
The Sustainable Development of the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve programme is being implemented in conjunction with the Ecuadorian Environment Ministry as part of a special programme focused on the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve. The main areas of work are:
- Nature conservation
Park rangers and administrative staff, and also the inhabitants of the Yasuni National Park and the biosphere reserve, attend training courses and receive advice on nature conservation and biodiversity. They also receive support in the form of specific projects, such as breeding and reintroducing rare species of tortoise and native trees.
- Sustainable agriculture and forestry
The inhabitants of the biosphere reserve receive advice on sustainable ways of cultivating, processing and marketing their agricultural and forestry products such as cocoa, coffee, timber and food.
- Training on biodiversity conservation
Alliances with educational institutions and the Environment Ministry will be established to develop and deliver training courses on environmental and resource conservation for community leaders, specialist staff in the institutions, and teachers, school students and parents in the biosphere reserve.
- Spatial planning and adaptation to climate change
The communities in the biosphere reserve receive advice on their land-use planning. The aim is for them to contribute to the sustainable management of their agricultural and forestry resources. The local plans will be integrated into the spatial planning procedures of the local authorities and rural districts.
Communications structures and knowledge management systems will be further developed in all the areas of work with the support of consultants ECO-Consult and Mentefactura. Progress and promising activities are documented for different target groups: the local population, national government authorities and institutions, and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). All activities are designed to ensure that men and women participate on an equal basis.
A mechanism has been developed to facilitate communication on technical issues, development planning and coordination among the local authorities, specialist institutions in the biosphere reserve and the different educational institutions. The national park administration has improved its efficiency and internal organisation. Providing advice on cross-institutional development of training strategies has led to more efficient use of training resources and the further development of content and methods. Particularly in the cocoa sector, an unexpectedly high demand for advice has developed as a result of information events and communication among cocoa producers.