Please allow time for a response - I live in the Jungle.
The site of the first phase of reforestation is centered around the community based eco-tourism project the ascension of Pan de Azúcar. Areas surrounding the trail will be maintained and new trees planted, providing shade and increased exposure to incredible bird species in the area. Over time, orchids and bromeliads will return,a further tourist attraction.
All proceeds go to cultivating and/or purchasing trees native to the area, reforesting key areas including steeps and watershed areas to prevent erosion and water contamination. The site of the reforestation project (shown in yellow below) is in plain site of San Juan Bosco, so the community can witness the reforestation as it happens.
SINGLE DONATION – $25 Adopt a jungle tree and you will receive: – A digital photo of your tree – GPS coordinates of your tree – A satellite image with the location of your tree marked – Regular updates of the reforestation project underway that your donation will fund – A tag will be placed on your tree, with your name, the date of adoption, and personalized dedication, saying, name, etc. FOR EVERY TREE ADOPTED, 10 MORE TREES WILL BE PLANTED
FAMILY DONATION PLAN – $100 Adopt a tree for the entire family, up to 10 trees for a donation of $100 dollars
ADOPT AN ACRE – $1,000 For a donation of $1,000 dollars, protect an entire Acre of Primary Jungle!!
Then, come visit your tree!! Come see your tree in its natural habitat, explore what life exists on it, what biodiversity of insects, plants, and birds utilize your tree to for survival.
As a biologist, I am well aware of the impact cattle have on the environment; I am also aware of the argument that dedicating the same land to production of grains and cereals would produce MORE protein for human consumption than cattle. However, living in the reality of a community where the main subsistence employment in the county is cattle farming, where the mindsets of the people are set in stone and change is difficult to say the least, and as a GRAND carnivore that I am, I believe that an equilibrium can be encountered, where cattle are produced in an efficient manner, the environment respected and definitely improved from the current situation, and that through example, others will follow. After 5 years in development work within this community, I have witnessed change, and can say it is a slow process; simply arriving and barking orders and/or throwing money at a problem has NO positive effect.
Current Methods in Cattle Farming As stated earlier, the same cattle farming techniques are applied today that were applied over 50 years ago. Mass tracts of Primary Jungle were (and continue to be) destroyed and Gramalote planted, and cattle tied up and moved twice a day. Once a week, often once every 2 weeks, rock salt is given to each head, often mixed with corn meal, or barley, or wheat bran. The results are poorly fed cattle, with workers having little or no time to do anything else other than take care of the cattle (I know, I did it that way for 6 months). The lack of efficiency is exemplified by the ratio of cattle per hectare (1 hectare is 2.47 acres), namely, 1 to 1!! One head for every 1 hectare!! The cool way to cattle farm is using the jungle to form natural corrals with loose cattle, since cattle will not wonder aimlessly into the jungle. This requires changing pastures to another grass called Setaria (Setaria splendida), which can with stand the stamping of the cattle, and also grows better in shady areas, requiring TREES!!! Setaria also is higher in digestible protein, and produces 5 rounds per year (matures every 75 days), where as Gramalote requires 12 months.
Corals The advantages to corals are listed below: Free ranging cattle that eat all they want. Workers (and me) have time to dedictate to other activities. Requires planting pastures that can withstand free range cattle, all of which are higher in protein, mature more rapidly, and grow better in shade (e.g., need trees). Improves ratio from 1 cattle per hectare to 7! Corals designed around streams, cliffs, etc., to protect water runoff and erosion, namely improved land management. The DISadvantages to corals are listed below: Requires an invesment of money (I spent over $1,000), and time. Requires elaboration of corals, planting posts, barb wire, and/or electric fencing, etc. Requires changing pastures, a slow, tedious job (my 2010…)
Below is the current working scheme for the cattle farm. Numbers followed by letters indicate the coral name, and the number below is the number of hectares in the respective coral.
Protecting Streams The farm has 7 steady flowing streams on the front side (cattle farming side), that often turn into raging rivers after a strong jungle rain. Previous techniques in cattle farming had left the streams almost treeless, with cattle tied up right along the streams. After mapping the entire farm with a GPS, I have set aside 3-5 meters (10-15 feet) on either side of the streams as areas of High Importance Reforestation. Using the electric fencing, I have planted trees, or utilized returning trees, as natural posts, in order to prevent the cattle from standing/deficating in the running water. Basins with a tubing are used to provide the cattle fresh water in each coral, shown above (orange line besides blue line). Within 3 more years, the streams will have a literal wall of jungle, which the cattle will not cross.
Fields marked with * are required
Porotillo trees are moer common at higher altitudes, this one shown here found at over 5,700 feet. Mosses also grow on the bark and interspersed among the branches provide a growing environment for orchids and smaller bromeliads.
Adopt one of these trees, and help reforest the rainforest. Its not too late!!
Pambils often are found with large bromeliads on the sides of them. Several bird species, primarily Orphondolas (locally known as Boogalas) construct nests out of the leaves.
Other than wood, people use the seeds for jewwlry, and the leaves to construct thatch-like roofs.
Nogal trees are commonly referred to as Walnut trees of South America. Interestingly, they shed all of their leaves once a year (April to May), then rapidly produce more leaves and grow new branches, yet there is no significant climate change in these months.
Chontilla trees are beautiful top heavy trees, which grow slowly by producing 4 large intricate leaves at a time, which then grow to almost 6 feet in length! The leaves were sought after by Shuar and early settlers to the area for use in constructing roofs. When dried, the leaves are stacked several high and used in constructing shelters.
Chontilla trees provide shade for resting reforesters, a great relief from the brutal Ecuadorian sun, or heavy rains. Silver beak tanagers are often found perching on top of these trees.
The reforestation plan includes the cataloging of adopted trees, including bird species identified nesting in the trees, as well as other flora and fauna supported. This work will involve local High School students, educating them on the wonders of the ecosystem which they are a part of, and the importance of its protection.
Cedar trees are highly sought after for wood, since they grow straight up, and reach such enormous sizes. Within the context of eco-systems, these trees house numerous diverse species, from birds, orchids, bromeliads, etc.
The reforestation plan of 80 acres deforested over the last 50 years includes the purchasing of cedar trees native to the area, and planting along streams and steep areas to prevent further erosion.