Ecuadorean rainforest saved

This video from Ecuador is called Yasuni National Park Documentary (in English).

From Amazon Rainforest News:

Ecuador Sets Major Rainforest, Climate Precedent


Ecuador’s government announced today it has reached a deal with the United Nations Development Program under which donor countries will compensate Quito for leaving oil reserves untouched in a large primary rainforest filled national park. Yasuni National Park – covering some 9,820 km2, or about the size of Massachusetts – is thought to be one of Earth’s most biodiversity rich sites and is also home to several nomadic Indian tribes. Yasuni’s preservation (total protection, not “sustainable management” or “conservation”) would spare Earth some 410 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that contribute to global warming; while keeping biodiversity, ecosystems and cultures fully intact. The official signing is reported to be held on Tuesday.

Ecological Internet’s Earth Action Network was the first to campaign internationally on threats to Yasuni from oil exploration, successfully internationalizing the issue. “This marvelous rainforest and climate victory is very gratifying and exciting,” states Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet President. “Ecological Internet began to campaign in the early 2000s to protect Yasuni National Park from oil development, and continuously since.” …

In 2007, Ecuador’s then President Rafael Correa launched the Yasuni-ITT Initiative, which sought compensation for agreeing to forgo exploiting the estimated 846 million barrels of crude in the Yasuni National Park. Negotiations had centered on the amount of compensation Ecuador would receive, with Correa insisting his nation get at least 3.5 billion dollars over ten years — about half the value of the estimated reserves in the protected area. When international donors were slow to respond, Ecological Internet launched another campaign which successfully “nudged” donor nations to fund this Yasuni-ITT proposal. As of early this year, about half had been pledged, with Germany (910 million) and Spain (241.8 million) leading the group of donors that included France, Sweden and Switzerland.

Much of the remainder of the Western Amazon — home to some of the most biodiverse and intact primary rainforest ecosystems left on Earth, which are critical for driving regional and global ecosystems and climatic patterns necessary for life – are threatened with decimation by oil rigs and pipelines. Over 180 oil and gas “blocks” – covering some 688,000 km2 (170 million acres) of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and western Brazil (nearly the size of Texas) – areas zoned for exploration and development. This energy production is concentrated in the Amazon’s largest remaining un-fragmented primary rainforest wildernesses, containing the most species of birds, mammals, and amphibians.

“Destruction of primary rainforests for oil production and other industrial developments is a global ecological emergency. Regional governments, international donors and global citizens must decide whether every last bit of the Earth’s old forest wildernesses; and intact, large ecosystems which make Earth habitable, will be sacrificed to delay having to transition now to renewable energy sources. In the process, abrupt run-away climate change, mass extinction and social disintegration will be ensured. This deal, if indeed signed as reported on Tuesday, represents a major new model for achieving global ecological sustainability, which must be replicated wherever primary rainforests shroud oil reserves. Further, it sets the precedent that to truly be protected, primary rainforests must be fully preserved in an intact condition, and not ‘sustainably managed’, which is a myth,” explains Dr. Barry.

Ecuador National Park Uses Motion And Heat Sensors To Photograph Rare Species (VIDEO): here.

Today Chevron reported triple profits of $5.4B. Adopt a board member to tell them to take profits & clean up Ecuador.

‘Hero’ Lawyer Pablo Fajardo on Taking on Chevron in Ecuador: “I Fight for Justice and for Life”: here.

August 2010: Nearly 7,500 acres of world-class bird and wildlife habitat – thought to contain perhaps the highest bird diversity for a single site anywhere in the world – has been bought in southern Peru with the financial help of the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and the Amazon Conservation Association (ACA).

US-Brazil debt for nature swap to protect forests: 12 August 2010. Source: BBC News; here.

Magic Birding Moments in Ecuador: here.

Saving seabirds in Ecuador: here.

Nick Buxton, YES! Magazine: “The ‘Mother Earth’ law under debate in Bolivia’s legislature will almost certainly be approved, as it has already been agreed to by the majority governing party, Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS). The law draws deeply on indigenous concepts that view nature as a sacred home, the Pachamama (Mother Earth) on which we intimately depend. As the law states, ‘Mother Earth is a living dynamic system made up of the undivided community of all living beings, who are all interconnected, interdependent and complementary, sharing a common destiny.’ The law would give nature legal rights, specifically the rights to life and regeneration, biodiversity, water, clean air, balance, and restoration”: here.

An international team of scientists that includes two University of Texas at Austin researchers has found that Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park, which sits on top of massive reserves of oil, is in the single most biodiverse region in the Western Hemisphere: here.

9 thoughts on “Ecuadorean rainforest saved

  1. Exploring Ecuador sans the Galapagos Islands

    Wed Aug 25, 3:47 PM

    By Alicia Chang, The Associated Press

    GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador – No offence against the Galapagos Islands. Home to giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas and other exotic creatures, the archipelago off Ecuador’s coast ranks for me — and many other travellers — among the top places to visit before I die.

    Yet with only two weeks to spend in Ecuador, we drew up an itinerary that bypassed the famous islands in favour of a whirlwind mainland trek that would take my husband and me from the mountains to the rainforest to the southern highlands and finally the Pacific coast.

    Skip the chance to see Lonesome George? Are we crazy? Was there even enough to see and do in a country the size of Colorado?

    Ecuador may be one of the smallest South American countries, but its outsized natural and cultural wonders are unparalleled. Two weeks is just enough time to taste the Andean nation’s offerings and still be hungry for more.

    While Charles Darwin may have been enamoured with the Galapagos, Ecuador offers far more. We ended up with an itinerary that took us to five very different places — Quito, the capital; a jungle lodge; the colonial city of Cuenca; the surf town of Montanita; and the country’s largest city, Guayaquil.

    We planned and booked our trip the hard way — on our own, using guidebooks, Internet reviews and word-of-mouth from friends who once lived there — and without the help of a travel agent or organized tour. The one exception was in Guayaquil where I have extended family who were eager to show us around.

    Sometimes we winged it, showing up at a hotel without a reservation, and we used a variety of transportation — including planes, boats and buses — to travel from region to region. Our only requirement was that we experience the different Ecuadorean climes in one trip in an effort to sample the country’s diversity.

    Our Galapagos-free journey began in Quito, ringed by dramatic volcanic peaks and boasting a revitalized Old Town, a historic centre of lively plazas, soaring churches and colonial architecture where we spent most of our time.

    Several mornings, we sat on a bench in the Plaza Grande, the main square, and watched couples strolling hand-in-hand, men in business suits breezing by, indigenous women selling their wares and shoeshine boys looking to make a few quarters.

    We stood in line for an hour to tour the Palacio del Gobierno — the Presidential Palace flanked by two modelesque uniformed guards — where we got a peek at the grandiose dining hall, the room where the president powwows with his cabinet ministers and a space filled with portraits of past Ecuadorean presidents.

    For a bird’s-eye view of the city, we hopped on the Teleferiqo, a gondola ride that takes passengers up the flanks of Pichincha volcano. Once at the top some 4,085 metres high, we climbed the trail to the volcano, but did not summit because of clouds and mist that obscured the view.

    We soon traded the Andes altitude for the Amazon jungle, flying into the oil town of Coca. From there, we boarded a motorized canoe for a 2 1/2-hour trip up the Napo River to the Yachana Lodge, one of several eco-lodges overlooking the Amazon River tributary.

    During a night hike and day trek into the rainforest, we encountered monkeys, toucans, bats, lizards and countless insects. We got our wildlife fix — even if it wasn’t the Galapagos kind. Sand flies and other biting insects were annoying, but at least we did not have to worry about yellow fever or malaria (they’re not present in the lodge vicinity).

    After hiking, we visited a medicine man and tested our blowgun skills using a stuffed parrot as a target (I was one-for-three; my husband three-for-three).

    The lodge — with its comfortable rooms and private balcony hammocks — is operated by the non-profit Yachana Foundation, which also runs a technical high school for indigenous and mestizo students living in the Amazon. Our stay coincided with the graduation — the third one since opening in 2005 — of several dozen students.

    On our last night in the jungle, we and other guests were invited to an end-of-year party thrown by the teachers. With a single lamp lighting the volleyball court-turned-dance floor, throngs gyrated to Spanish and American pop songs.

    From the rainforest, we flew south to the quaint colonial city of Cuenca known for its cobblestone streets and artsy feel. Our timing wasn’t perfect since our only full day fell on a Sunday — a day when most museums and stores are closed.

    We hit what we could, including the El Sagrario — the old cathedral turned religious museum — and the Museo de Arte Moderno (Modern Art Museum). We spent part of the afternoon ambling the banks of the Tomebamba River and admiring the colonial houses that seemed to hang precariously over it, and passed some time on the steps of the neo-gothic Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion — the newer of two cathedrals in the main plaza.

    Time to leave quaintness behind. We barrelled west by bus to the sprawling seaport of Guayaquil, a jumping-off point to the Galapagos. Instead, we took a three-hour bus ride up the Pacific coast past sleepy fishing villages to the surf town of Montanita.

    High season here is December to May, so it was relatively quiet. But the warm water and rideable waves drew swimmers and surfers despite the drizzly weather. A surfer back home in California, my husband got to try a board made of balsa wood — a material widely found in Ecuador.

    We circled back to Guayaquil after a brief beach stay. Ecuador’s largest city has undergone a facelift in the past decade, shedding much of its rough-and-tumble image. Its refurbished waterfront boardwalk — known as the Malecon — is pedestrian-friendly and attracts locals and tourists alike.

    North of the Malecon is the bohemian Las Penas, Guayaquil’s oldest neighbourhood housing art galleries and restored homes. We climbed the winding staircase — more than 400 steps — to the lighthouse where we were rewarded with stunning city views.

    Guayaquil was the last stop in a packed two-week sojourn through Ecuador. Even after visiting five distinct places, there was still a lot left to experience: A spine-tingling bus ride down the Avenue of the Volcanoes; driving the length of the Ruta del Sol — Ecuador’s version of the Pacific Coast Highway — and camping in the national parks.

    And that’s just on the mainland. The Galapagos is a separate story.

    On our last morning in Guayaquil, we had breakfast at the Dulceria La Palma, a bustling old-school bakery/cafe, where locals order cooked eggs in a cup. Upon learning that we lived in Los Angeles, our waiter asked for my husband’s autograph. He politely declined.

    “La proxima vez,” I said. Next time.

    Perhaps next time we’ll also make the detour to the Galapagos.


    If You Go…


    YACHANA LODGE: Rates: $210 per person per night for a cabin in the main lodge; $100 per person per night for a bunk with shared bathrooms. Price includes personal guide, canoe ride, meals and rubber boots. Airfare to Coca not included.





  2. Satellite shows rise in deforestation

    BRAZIL: The government has set up a crisis centre to tackle a sudden increase in deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.

    Environment Minister Izabella Teixera said action was required after satellite images showed deforestation had escalated sharply over the past two months.

    In 2009-2010 2,490 square miles of Brazil were deforested, the lowest figure since records began 20 years ago.

    Officials said that better enforcement of environmental rules was responsible, but the recent rise suggests that it may have been a temporary response to the global recession.


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