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Newsletter No. 1: Red Forestal´s summary of activities

In our first institutional bulletin as well as in future bulletins, we inform the public of the 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 Red Forestal since November 2017. The Foundation was finally constituted on July 24, 2018, through Ministerial Agreement No. 083.
After developing the technical part of our project and constituting ourselves as a Foundation, we requested a first financial support from the Corporación Fond Ágil (COFA), whose technical secretariat is the Centro Ecuménico de Proyectos (CEP), in July. The award money allowed us to begin with the development of the mobile application, which is currently in its final stages of development in Bilbao, Spain.

With the project´s pillars in place, we approached the Jocotoco Conservation Foundation to jointly develop our first pilot project. We proceeded to sign a Cooperation Agreement with Jocotoco at the beginning of August 2018. This institution accounts for more than 20 years of experience in environmental conservation and manages a total of 12 reserves totalling 22,000 hectares, making it the most important private reforesting entity in Ecuador. We defined the site of the first joint project, in the Buenaventura reserve, located in the province of El Oro. After a visit to the reserve in early September, the two foundations proceeded to map and delimit the area for the pilot project, which in it´s current state was still covered with grassland. Additionally,  we took aerial footage of the area and georeferenced the latter. Jocotoco went to establish a greenhouse with 1,010 seedlings for the start of the project in October. The seedlings´ current height is one meter at the time of this writing and they will be planted in mid-January, respecting the beginning of the rain season in southern Ecuador. On the other hand, Jocotoco has been giving constant maintenance to the area, eliminating the remains of grass and preparing the soil for regeneration.

During the first weeks of January, Red Forestal will launch 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 trees, as well as georeferencing all individuals. This activity will be launched simultaneously with the first version of the „Árbola“ reforestation app.

Project: El Carmen Multifunctional Forest

In September 2018, we contacted a private person who had established a multifunctional forestry project 18 years ago near El Carmen, Manabí. This project has been included in studies and publications conducted by FAO and The World Bank. This area, which encompasses aproximatedly 100 hectares, is in a sufficiently advanced stage of growth to be able to regenerate naturally. In the past, this area was used for farming purposes, just as the Buenaventura reserve. We are currently working on a Cooperation Agreement in order to start a volunteer project in the area in the following months. 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 prepared the fundamental requirements for the operationalization of both projects and the Foundation in general. We opened an institutional bank 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 fundamental to our operations, since we´ll be receiving donations at an international level. We ended the year with all the necessary documents for the development of our activities.

Throughout 2019, Red Forestal intends to establish an international network of collaborators to ensure biodiversity conservation by planting as many trees as possible! We have the confidence 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