Located in Ecuador, "El Jardin de los Sueños" is a sustainable development project that balances environmental conservation, community development and naturalistic tourism.
And it is above all a way of life, the idea being to reconcile Man and Nature.
An important feature of the conservation project is that it is part of the Ecuadorian Chocó region, considered as an international priority for the conservation of biodiversity along the Pacific coast, but of which only 2% remains its original cover. In doing so, each area of protected forest, such as the current project, is considered as a reservoir of unique and critically endangered biodiversity.
The hill where the project is located, is an island of native forest in the middle of a territory suffering from the intensity of agricultural crops (livestock, monocultures of bananas ...) which each year increases its area nibbling the forest of the region.
For all these reasons, the JDLS retains and provides important ecosystem services to the adjacent territory. The JDLS Forest acts as a reservoir of biodiversity, but it is also at the origin of various water sources that feed the surrounding population that depends on it as a source of quality water. In addition, it offers ecosystem services of a cultural nature, as it actively contributes to its connection with communities adjacent to raising awareness of nature conservation. Through visits, conferences and coexistence, JDLS has succeeded in passing on to neighboring communities the value and richness of biodiversity in the region, and generating a strong environmental awareness growing among the residents of Canton La Mana.
Here is a list of the projects, activities, publications, collaborations and formal initiatives that took place in the "Jardin de los Sueños »:
- Diversity and distribution of insects (trichoptera) of Ecuador. Principal Investigator: Dr. Blanca Ríos - University of the Americas.
- Diversification of the Frog Pristimantis ornatissimus in the Andean lowlands and foothills of Ecuador. Principal Investigator: Dr. Juan M. Guayasamín - San Francisco University of Quito.
- Thymological diversity, ecology and conservation of river ecosystems in Ecuador. Principal Investigator: Dr. Ibon Tobes - Indoamerica University.
- Diversity of reptiles and amphibians of the protected forest JDLS Vivarium Quito Dr. Gorge Valencia
- BBC Wildlife: Miniature Wonders.
- Herpetological review: Pristimatis achatinus Predation.
- Diversification of the Frog Pristimantis ornatissimus in the lowlands and foothills of the Andes in Ecuador.
Collaboration with universities:
- Visit of field UTE Quevedo Master Environmental Management.
- Visit of land of SEI La Maná.
- Practice: Environmental Impact Plan (ESPOCH Faculty of Natural Resources).
- These: Diversity of florists and natural regeneration status of the protected forest JDLS (UTE Quevedo Unidad Posgrado).
- An agreement was reached with the district of La Maná to organize environmental education workshops at the village school of Los Laureles and field visits so that school children can visit the JDLS forest.
For the best development of these activities, the following projects have been implemented:
- Creation of an artificial pond for the observation of frogs and aquatic insects.
- Creation of hunt for bird watching.
- Creation of an educational trail with photos of wildlife.
Release of animals:
The reserve is home to animals rescued by the Ministry of Environment Cotopaxi, which are released and reintroduced into the JDLS forest.
Thanks to the efforts of the conservation initiative and in collaboration with the researchers who support the project, the JDLS forest has a large inventory of biodiversity. To date more than 400 animal species have been recorded, many of which are endemic and emblematic, with great interest in their protection:
- Birds: 222 species
- Reptiles: 57 species
- Amphibians: 33 species
- Mammals: 25 species
- Butterflies: 55 species
- Fish: 16 species
- Preparation of a field guide on the reptiles and amphibians of Los Laureles
- Developing butterfly illustrations from the reserve to create a Choco butterfly guide.
Link with the community:
- Creation of a community tourism service association in Los Laureles using the conservation project to attract ecotourism and support the community by raising awareness of the importance of protecting and conserving nature.
- Opening of a tourist route with the tourist agency of La Maná, "Maná / El Bosque Protegido JDLS".
- Exchange of organic vegetable seeds with the community to encourage the inhabitants of the territory to create their own organic garden.
Volunteer program for foreigners and nationals. Volunteering includes work to support the project, as well as socially-related work through the teaching of English in the community.
Proposals and future projects
The conservation project "El Jardin d los Sueños" aims to become a reference for conservation and nature conservation initiatives in the canton of La Maná. To this end, it will pursue not only the above-mentioned activities, but action strategies that can go beyond the boundaries of the reserve and support sustainable development focused on creating alternatives for ecological and community tourism, awareness-raising environment and education among youth and adults, protection of biodiversity and respect for nature territory. Among these ideas for the future are:
- Create new roads and tourist activities on the Los Laureles site, which, with the JDLS project, attract national and international visitors with a "green tourism" offer.
- Purchase 126 hectares of forest adjacent to the JDLS site and create a public protection forest managed by the Los Laureles community with the technical and human support of the JDLS conservation project.
- Creation of a natural corridor linking the JDLS protected forest to the Illinizas national reserve using river ecosystems. To do this, it would seek to reforest streams by creating a network of biological corridors that represent an attractive natural attraction for visitors and which would encourage communities to create an ecological itinerary for community tourism.
- Creation of a specific circuit for bird watching and oriented towards ornithological tourism.
The JDLS Private Protected Forest Conservation Project was consolidated in those years as a biodiversity sanctuary of the Choco Bioregion and a major player in environmental awareness and education in the Canton of La Maná. .
Unfortunately, although the project is part of the coastal zone of Chocó, its administrative and political boundaries include it in Cotopaxi province which is an obstacle to the demand for public funds, because the public investment efforts in favor of conservation focus on the coastal provinces and the Amazon, regardless of the particularities of each province.
That's why we need your solidarity to continue this project.