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Climate Change Adaptation: the case of Mashpi and Tayra nature Reserves’ buffer area

Climate change adaptation refers to the essential resilience capacities needed to endure its impacts and bounce back better afterwards. We know that the effects of Climate Change are a greater threat to groups that historically have had a social disadvantage and, or limited access to their rights.

By Victoria Chiriboga and Carolina Proaño-Castro    
Foto: Estefanía Bravo

Foto: Diana Troya

Therefore, Fundación Futuro’s Climate Action Plan includes a big investment in adaptive capacity building among communities located in the buffer area of our private conservation areas.

We understand that holistic solutions to tackle the climate crisis require the incorporation of social, economic, and environmental aspects to ensure sustainable and just social development.

Starting in 2019, we began our work in the communities of San José de Mashpi, Guayabillas, and Pachijal, and in 2020 we welcomed San Francisco de Pachijal, La Delicia and Pacto Loma. These communities are home to approximately 1,485 people, and within the area we work in three main areas: social, economic and agricultural resilience.

Foto: Estefanía Bravo

Social Resilience: Organized communities and families free of domestic violence have a greater potential to adapt to the impacts of Climate Change. Hence, we have supported the process of legalizing San Francisco de Pachijal and San José de Mashpi, so communities can rely on proper legal recognition to access their right to participation. Also, we strengthen women’s capacities through empowerment and financial independence programs.

Strengthening good governance systems in the area, in coordination with local government and other organizations, ensures that everyone in the community has a voice in decision-making processes.

Additionally, as part of the adaptation strategies within communities, an early alert system was developed alongside the community police unit to implement an efficient “community alarm system” via WhatsApp.

Economic Resilience: Diversifying income streams are key for local families to bear and adapt to the threats created by Climate Change. Our purpose is to diversify livelihoods that are sustainable and compatible with nature conservation.

To achieve this, we support artisanal and local businesses aiming to give an added value to local products and help them open markets in larger cities, like Quito. In 2021, in coordination with Fundación Heifer, we officially launched an online shopping portal, La Cosecha del Día. A virtual marketplace to buy vegetables, fruits, soaps, and essential oils from the area.

The products are available to citizens from Quito and Cuenca via web and Whatssap. This assortment of top-quality products add value to you and your family’s health and improve the economies of rural families. You can order here!

Another important distribution channel is Hotel Mashpi Lodge, which as a part of their sustainability efforts, currently acquire several prepared and fresh products from 19 families from the area to ensure the quality, freshness and sustainability of their gastronomic offer.

Agricultural Resilience: One of the most important, but commonly overseen solutions to climate adaptation strategies, is increasing crop diversification. This is because when there is greater diversity of seeds being planted, there is a greater probability of increasing survival of species with the ongoing environmental changes.

With Ecuador being mega-diverse there are thousands of edible plant species that we can farm in order to increase resilience. As a part of our support to farmers in the buffer area of Fundación Futuro’s Reserves, we seek to increase the diversity of crops and encourage sustainable land use practices.

We provide support by providing specie’s identification and explore their potential for nutrition and gastronomic experiences to boost their production and commercialization.

From early 2019, we offered several trainings to local producers to encourage Agroecology and sustainable farming in the area.

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