The Conservation Network of Mompiche (CoNeMo) comprises private, institutional, and corporate landowners in Mompiche who share a common commitment to the protection and conservation of the rainforests of Mompiche, Ecuador. They actively take responsibility for safeguarding the forest and the species that depend on it within their owned lands.
We are witnessing ongoing devastation in the Esmeraldas region, particularly in the Muisne canton. This region is a vital part of the Ecuadorian Chocó corridor, which, in turn, is a crucial component of the Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena Biodiversity Hotspot. The area encompasses a wide range of ecosystems, including tropical dry forests, tropical lowland forests, tropical highland forests, and mangrove forests. It ranks among the most biodiverse areas globally and faces a severe risk of extinction, with only 1% of the original land cover of dry forests remaining.
Mompiche's lowland rainforests, part of the Chocó region, have witnessed substantial deforestation, with a staggering loss of 68 percent (1.2 million hectares) of their forest cover by 2018. This concerning trend was confirmed by an analysis conducted by Ecuador's Ministry of the Environment and the University of Maryland, which identified 4,600 hectares of deforested Ecuadorian forests in 2017 and 2018, primarily affecting low-lying areas. A recent analysis by the Andean Amazon Monitoring Project (MAAP) paints an even bleaker picture, revealing that only 39% of the Ecuadorian Chocó Forest remains. Notably, protected areas have not been immune to this devastation, as only 61% of the Esmeraldas Mache-Chindul Ecological Reserve retains its original forest.
A similar trend is evident in mangrove forests, where approximately only half of these vital ecosystems remain in Muisne (Hamilton, 2020, Mangroves and Aquaculture). Mangroves hold a prominent place among Earth's ecosystems; they serve as breeding grounds for numerous species, miraculously transforming desolate saltwater areas into unique forests. Additionally, they store remarkable amounts of CO2. In fact, mangrove forests may boast the highest carbon stocks per hectare of any forest type worldwide. Estimates indicate that their carbon stocks are at least three times greater than those of boreal forests, temperate forests, or tropical forests (Donato et al., 2011)
Therefore, we assume the responsibility of protecting Mompiche's forests. This is crucial locally and globally and we are taking up this challenge with conviction. We will protect the land entrusted to us through:
The partial or total designation as a protected area with a permanent national protection standard as a "Conservation and Sustainable Use Area" or intending to do so in the near future. We support each other in this process and encourage and support others to join the Network under the same conditions. We set an example of how to use possessions carefully and sustainably. For this reason. Those who cannot fully meet the conditions are welcome to join the network with parts of their possession that are equitably protected but are not considered consorts but participants or partners.
We are dedicated to achieving two fundamental goals: the creation of a connected wildlife corridor to safeguard the flora and fauna of Mompiche and its surroundings, and the establishment of a robust partnership between a private company and the Mompiche community, fostering social development within a sustainable framework. To realize these ambitions, we actively seek to acquire and protect lands that are interconnected, forming a contiguous protected area. This approach enables the seamless expansion and movement of flora and fauna within a secure environment.
Secondly, our objective is to establish a connection with the Mache-Chindul ecological reserve, expanding our efforts to create an even larger, continuous protected area. This interconnected landscape will bridge the inland regions of Esmeraldas with the coastal regions, fostering an environment where a diverse array of species can thrive within a secure and protected sanctuary.
The salvation of the entire Mompiche forests hinges on providing the people of Mompiche with opportunities to derive their livelihoods from these invaluable resources. This vision excludes detrimental land uses, such as monoculture plantations, mining, or livestock farming, including shrimp and pig farming. Instead, sustainable alternatives come to the forefront:Sustainable agriculture or ecotourism.The cultivation and processing of sustainable crops, exemplified by Cacao Arriba Nacional.Generating income through forest conservation certificates, such as those offered by the United Nations' compensation platform for tropical forests.
Better than buying the land to preserve it from deforestation is of course making people not want to sell it, but protecting it themselves. So read about our social-economic projects of building a
Community Center of Arts and Culture and about our project of building the Ariyani Chocolate Manufacture run by women.
Save the Paradise Foundation is actively working to expand the wildlife reserve in Mompiche, Ecuador. With the support of our donors and strategic partners, the foundation has protected 34 hectares after just two years of hard and committed work! By bringing together a community of like-minded neighbors, we have created a nearly contiguous network of protected areas in order to create a wildlife corridor connected to the Ecological Reserve of Mache-Chindul in about 4,5 km distance.