Ewan and Charley Visit One of the Most Threatened Rainforests in the World
The world’s rainforests are under attack. Deforestation, Palm oil planting and poaching is desecrating vast amounts of our planet’s precious biodiversity. The Amazon has lost around 25% of its Rainforest so far, but there is another area of South America that has been even worse hit.
The Pacific Ecuadorian Forest might just be the most endangered tropical forest you’ve never heard of. Separated from the Amazon by the Andes mountains and stretching along the Pacific Coast of Ecuador, These Coastal Forests have lost a staggering 98% of its terrain making it one of the most severely-threatened ecosystems on earth.
Third Millennium Alliance (TMA) is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to conserving one of the last remnants of this tropical coastal forest. They created the Jama-Coaque Reserve, a protected area of 1,600 acres where they work with locals to preserve and restore the forest as well as address alternative income sources to those gained by deforestation.
Ewan and Charley paid a visit to this sensational region to spend time with some of the conservationists who live and work there.
They were met by TMA’s co-founder, Jerry Toth, who established the reserve back in 2007 and who still lives there for much of the year. Together, the three took a walk through TMA’s sustainably-farmed organic coffee plantation, grown under the shade of native trees - a prime example of working with the natural terrain to promote environmental and economic sustainability in the area. Jerry showed Ewan and Charley some of the deforested land that TMA has been working hard to restore, harnessing the immense regenerative power of mother nature, over the course of the last 10 years.
Later, Ewan and Charley were joined by a team of researchers who were conducting a survey of the spectacular array of endangered and endemic birds who also call this forest home. Because this area is a transition zone between two very extreme ecosystems (the sopping wet Chocó Rainforest and the bone dry Atacama Desert) the Pacific Ecuadorian Forest has some of the highest levels of plant and animal endemism in the world. That means that many of the plant and wildlife species that call this place home are found here and only here, making the conservation of this area even more crucial.
The boys then spent the night in the infamous “Bamboo House,” a rustic open-air off-grid jungle lodge built entirely by hand. They fell asleep to a jungle symphony of howler monkey hollering, insects percussing, frogs fornicating and a vociferous song of tropical trumpeting.
To learn more about this project and to support TMA’s conservation effort, please visit www.tmalliance.org/donate.
Who: Third Millennium Alliance (TMA) is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to conserving one of the last remnants of The Pacific Ecuadorian Forest.
Where: TMA’s work is focused on one of the last major remnants of rainforest and cloud forest in coastal Ecuador. This area is officially designated as a global biodiversity hotspot, representing the most threatened part of the great Chocó Rainforest. The Chocó, located along the Pacific coast, is the tropical ecosystem to the West of the Andes mountains, versus the Amazon ecosystem located East of the Andes.
Why Here: As a point of comparison, the Amazon has lost about 25% of its original forest—whereas the Pacific Forests of coastal Ecuador have already lost 98%. TMA works in the province with the highest deforestation rate in Ecuador, which is the country with the highest deforestation rate in all of South America. It’s also one of the most biodiverse countries on earth. This project is on the frontlines of global climate change and the sixth mass extinction currently underway on our planet. The main driver of deforestation in this region is unsustainable agriculture.
What They Do:
Conservation: In 2007, TMA created a forest preserve called the Jama-Coaque Reserve (JCR). They started by purchasing 100 acres of cloud forest at the very peak of the coastal mountain range. After twelve years and the purchase of fifteen different wilderness properties, JCR now protects over 1,600 acres of rainforest and cloud forest. They’re now in the process of extending JCR along a 12-km conservation corridor westward toward the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
Reforestation: TMA has planted over 20,000 trees in deforested land adjacent to JCR.
Cacao for Carbon: TMA is currently piloting an innovative cacao-for-carbon project with local communities across the region. The project creates jobs, regrows forest, and stores carbon—all through sustainable agroforestry, with an emphasis on Ecuador’s legendary variety of heirloom cacao.
How to Help:
The cost of sponsoring an acre already under the protection of JCR is $100/year. This is calculated by dividing their minimum annual operating budget ($160,000) by the number of acres they manage as a protected area (1,600).
The cost of purchasing an unprotected acre and bringing it under the long-term protection of JCR is $700/acre.
About the Organization: TMA is a 501c3 non-profit conservation organization registered in both the U.S. and in Ecuador. Donations are tax-deductible. US Federal Tax ID number is 26-3982965.