One Earth’s Project Marketplace funds on-the-ground climate solutions that are key to solving the climate crisis through three pillars of collective action — renewable energy, nature conservation, and regenerative agriculture. This project restores and protects coastal habitats.
Once, the Afro, Cholo, and Montubio Peoples of Ecuador lived as one with nature. The flourishing coastal mangroves provided them with abundant livelihoods and food. In return, they cared for and protected the forest.
Over the years, destructive industries have made their way into the vibrant jungle, causing the loss of 80% of the mangrove ecosystem today. Indigenous communities have almost no access to clean water, nutritious food, or prosperous work. The levels of extreme poverty have now reached 90%.
Support for this project will help the Indigenous Peoples of Ecuador restore the lost mangroves through a reforesting effort and reclaim their rights as ancestral caretakers of the forest.
Rooted in Indigenous women’s wisdom
This project is spearheaded by the National Coordinator for the Defense of the Mangrove Ecosystem (C-CONDEM), an organization that focuses on recovering Indigenous women's knowledge.
By putting women in leadership positions, the Indigenous wisdom on how to tend to the mangroves passed down from generation to generation can be integrated into forest restoration efforts. This project also helps develop gardens that can thrive within mangrove ecosystems. Women can cultivate these gardens to support their families and communities.
Currently, four hectares of community-managed mangrove ecosystems are being restored, with the prospect of expanding to 29 hectares. The communities also mobilize to defend, conserve, and sustainably manage these ecosystems.
Working with the communities in this effort is the Association of Fishermen, Farmers, Indigenous, and Afrodescendant Community Development of the Bajo Sinu Cienaga Grande. Students from Utrecht University are also supporting socio-ecological research.
In addition to restoring the mangroves, “Huertas Hermosas y Sabrosas,” or “beautiful and wholesome orchids,” are being established. Fifty women and their families will directly benefit from harvesting the mangrove gardens. For the two communities involved, about 100 families will benefit.
Building climate resiliency
This project helps local communities establish food security while safeguarding their coastal territories from the worst effects of climate change. Through communication and the sharing of experiences, communities will be able to replicate the successes of this project throughout the Ecuadorian coast.