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Newsletter No. 1: Summary of activities of the Red Forestal Foundation

In our first institutional bulletin, as well as in future bulletins, we´ll inform the public about our projects and the various activities developed by the Foundation. In addition to compiling news and updates on issues related to biodiversity conservation and the environment in general, the newsletter will include upcoming events.

Reforestation App “Árbola”

Recieving our first funding.

The development of the first reforestation web-application was conceived and undertaken by the Foundation since November 2017. The Foundation was finally constituted on July 24, 2018, through Ministerial Agreement No. 083.
After developing the technical part of the project and constituting ourselves legally as a Non Profit Organization (NGO), we won an award for a first financial grant conceeded through the Corporación Fondo Ágil (COFA), whose technical secretariat is the Centro Ecuménico de Proyectos (CEP), in July 2018. This grant allowed us to start with the development of the mobile web-application, which is currently in its final stages of development in Bilbao, Spain.

With the project pillars in place, we approached the Jocotoco Conservation Foundation, in order to develop our first joint pilot project. We signed a Cooperation Agreement with Jocotoco Conservation Foundation at the beginning of August 2018. Jocotoco accounts for more than 20 years of experience in environmental conservation and manages a total of 12 reserves totalling 22,000 hectares, being the most important private reforestator in Ecuador. We defined the area and location of the first joint project, in Jocotoco´s Buenaventura reserve, located in the province of El Oro, in southern Ecuador. After having visited the reserve in early September, the two foundations delineated the area for the pilot project, which, in its current state, accounts as a area dominated by the growth of grassland. In addition, aerial footage of the area was taken and the area was georeferenced. Jocotoco Conservation Foundation then established a greenhouse with around 1,010 seedlings, for the project kickoff in october. The seedlings have a current height of one meter and will be planted in mid-january, coincident with the beginning of the rain cycle in southern Ecuador. On the other hand, Jocotoco Conservation Foundation has maintained the area constantly, eliminating the remains of grass and preparing the soil for regeneration.

During the first weeks of January, Red Forestal will begin with a public media campaign to ensure the promotion of the project nationally and internationally. We are also planning a visit to Buenaventura at the end of this month, to monitor the growth of the planted trees, as well as georeferencing all individuals. This activity will be launched simultaneously with the first version of the “ÁRBOLA” reforestation web-app.

Project: El Carmen Multifunctional Forest

In September 2018, we came into contact with a private person who established a multifunctional forestry project 18 years ago near El Carmen, Manabí. FAO and The World Bank have included this project in their studies and publications. This area, which covers a total of 100 hectares, is in a sufficiently advanced stage of growth to be able to regenerate naturally. It was used in the past, as was the Buenaventura reserve, for productive purposes related to livestock. We are establishing a Cooperation Agreement in order to start a volunteer project in the area in the following weeks. We plan to reforest an area of one hectare with the help of volunteers. This event will take place over a weekend, a total of approximately 200 seedlings will be planted, which are already growing in a greenhouse established for this project.

Various activities

In the last weeks of 2018, we dealt with fundamental requirements for the operation of both projects and the Foundation in general. We processed an institutional account, together with all the necessary requirements. Red Forestal is already registered with the Internal Revenue Service, in addition to being registered with Ecuador`s Financial and Economic Analysis Unit (UAFE), which supervises asset laundering in the country. This factor is elementary for our operation, since we will receive donations at an international level. We end the year with all the necessary documents for the development of our activities.

Throughout 2019, as Fundación Red Forestal, we intend to establish an international network of collaborators to make a difference in biodiversity conservation by planting as many trees as possible! We are sure that our reforestation app will be a success. Let’s be a part of the forest! We wish you a happy and green 2019!

Planned events and activities: January 2019

– Volunteer reforestation in a pilot project of the Forest Network Foundation in El Carmen (TBC, approx. end of January)
– Launch of Red Forestal´s institutional website