Located at the eastern foothill of the mountain Pan De Azucar, in the province of Morona Santiago, Ecuador - Jungle Dave's Farm is the site of a model farming project, introducing novel methods and techniques for land management in the area.
The main subsistence employment in the county of San Juan Bosco is cattle farming. The same techniques are applied today that were applied over 50 years ago. Mass tracts of Primary Jungle were destroyed and Gramalote planted, and cattle tied up and moved twice a day. 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 cool way to do it, 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 protein, and produces 5 rounds per year (matures every 75 days), where as Gramalote requires 12 months.
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... MORE
In a joint project with the local government and land owners, reforest projects are underway to promote ecological tourism (an alternative source of income for locals), increase knowledge of ecological friendly farming practices, protection of watershed areas, and protection of large tracts of land for County Ecological Reserves.