Community Ecotourism Area Training in Sumaco, Ecuador

While in Ecuador working with dairy farmers to protect their local forests, Dr. April Sansom discovered an opportunity to assist a neighboring community, Sumaco, to protect wildlife habitat in an interesting way.

The short story: the people of Sumaco have started to express interest in becoming actively involved in conservation and ecotourism. They have asked for assistance as they explore how to set up a community-managed reserve.

So, in partnership with local leaders, we hope to help to provide the community of Sumaco with a complete training in 2020 that would give them the information and tools they need. More details about this are on the project launch page.

Beautiful and Biodiverse

The location here is key. Sumaco is in a biodiversity hotspot: the eastern slope of the Andes mountains.

Sumaco is in Napo Province, Ecuador. Photo by Don Henise.

This area’s lush forest is not only beautiful, but it is home to both the endangered mountain tapir and the well-known and vulnerable Andean bear (also known as “spectacled bears”).

The location is also significant because of “landscape connectivity:” the idea that animal populations can thrive best when they can move freely from one habitat area to another. Sumaco lies in the heart of three large protected areas (Sumaco-Galeras National Park, Cayambe-Coca National Park, and the Antisana Ecological Reserve).

There may be new ways that people here could manage their lands, allowing large animals to pass through more safely. This could really help their numbers increase.

Map showing Sumaco, Ecuador's position between three large protected areas. Courtesy of Google Maps
Sumaco lies between three large protected areas. Courtesy of Google Maps

Getting started

You can see more information about the project (the role of the local government, the training we’re planning to provide, how you can help, and more) on the Andes 2020 project launch page.

You can also see photos and facts about the project on our Facebook page or under the hashtag #Andes2020.

Thank you to everyone who supports Community Conservation. You help us spread the impact of people-focused conservation work like this around the world. Thanks to you, we can assist communities like Sumaco!

Photo of Andean Bear by Jake William Heckey