The coastal marine life territories of Ecuador are recovered through community participation. Photo: courtesy of C-CONDEM

Restoring Coastal Mangroves and Indigenous Livelihoods in Ecuador

Category Restore

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.

Photo: courtesy of C-CONDEM

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.

Community-managed mangroves

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.

Crab collectors from the Oro province, safeguarding the mangrove ecosystem and restoring life. Photo: courtesy of C-CONDEM

Feeding families

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.

View more projects supported by Daughters.