The Jocotoco Foundation is an Ecuadorian non-government organization established in 1998 to protect land of critical importance to the conservation of Ecuador’s endangered birds and associated biodiversity. The Foundation primarily achieves this by purchasing lands and managing them as ecological reserves.
To date, the Jocotoco Foundation has established ten reserves protecting about 12,000 ha (approx 30,000 acres). While the reserves have primarily been established to protect habitat for endangered birds, their habitats and many associated plants and animals are protected as well. The Foundation’s reserves are known to support populations of over 800 species of birds, of which over 50 are globally threatened or near-threatened and more than 100 are restricted-range or endemic species.
The reserves are also home to over 200 species of reptiles and amphibians, many of them endangered and range-restricted and some only recently described, as well as large rare mammals such as Spectacled Bear, Woolly and Baird’s Tapirs, Puma, and Jaguar. All of the reserves are recognized as Important Bird Areas and Biodiversity Hot-spots and two of them as Alliance for Zero Extinction sites.
Jocotoco’s reserves are open to scientific researchers, and we will strive to assist them in their efforts.
The Jocotoco Foundation recognizes that in order to achieve success it must integrate its conservation objectives with the legitimate needs and aspirations of adjacent communities. To help ensure the survival of the endangered species we seek to protect, we therefore will continue to establish alliances with other organizations including local businesses, land owners, government agencies, schools and universities, and other NGOs.
A strong ecotourism program has also been established in which hundreds of visitors can see a sampling of the wealth of birds and other animals to be found in Ecuador. It also provides important employment opportunities for many local citizens.
Over the past 10 years, Jocotoco has developed an innovative reforestation program funded using international carbon offsets. The program uses locally collected native species to restore degraded ecosystems within and adjacent to the reserves providing renewed habitat for returning rare species and providing clean drinking water and other renewable resources for surrounding communities.
Further, recognizing that our reserves do not exist in isolation, where feasible the Jocotoco Foundation will strive to incorporate the conservation needs of its target species elsewhere in their ranges, while always maintaining a focus on areas that adjoin our actual reserves.