An experience in the Bosque la Esperanza in Manabí

Actualizado: 2 jul 2021

An important part in the life of a biologist is the experiences that are gained by finding people passionate about nature. Almost 15 years ago, I traveled for the first time to the Ecuadorian Amazon, specifically to the tropical rainforest in Yasuní. At that time, I traveled as a student of the Field techniques course taught in the Biology degree at PUCE (QUITO-ECADOR), and in fact it was, for me, an incredibly enriching experience. Not only did I learn the work of a field Biologist, but this place became one of my favorites because of its great diversity and the incredible energy it transmits. It is a place where I met many valuable people who work to preserve the few natural areas we have left. This is how I met Anelio Loor, a very enthusiastic parabiologist, motivated and committed to conservation.

Years later, when I returned to Yasuní, I met Anelio again and he told me about his idea: to keep a forest patch in Manabí, which he calls Bosque La Esperanza, which means hope. With the motivation of seeing his great project, I visited La Esperanza, in the El Zapote community (El Carmen-Manabí). There, I was welcomed as another member of his family, his neighbors warmly welcomed me and some, surprised, looked at us with curiosity. Three biologists looking for snakes, lizards and frogs, where they surely questioned, why are they looking for animals that for many are not pleasant?

During this time Anelio was our guide and showed us the forest that he knows like the back of his hand, since he has worked hard to record the existing flora. This is a special forest, located in an area affected by livestock and agriculture, where the original forest has been severely fragmented. Anelio, in his passion for conservation, has begun restoration processes on his property. In a week of work in this forest we were able to register some species of amphibians and reptiles and we interacted with people from the community. We even managed to rid a few people of their fears and rejection of this group of animals, just by explaining their function in the ecosystem.

Like Anelio, there are many people working only with their resources for the conservation of forest remnants throughout the country.

Like Anelio, there are many people working only with their resources for the conservation of forest remnants throughout the country.

Every time we do field work for research (now in my case also to transmit to new students, respect for nature and field techniques that I once also learned) we travel long distances to reach pristine sites or in the process of recovery, areas which yet surprise us because of the diversity found there. However, along the way we can also see the destruction we cause with extractive activities, in favor of economic development. Now, it is in our hands to recover some of what has been lost and improve our practices to avoid permanent damage. Manabí gives us an incredible opportunity to work for conservation and sustainable land management.

Someone once told me, you don't love what you don't know, and we don't protect what we don't love either. That is why we started studying the great diversity of this area and we want to transmit that knowledge as a conservation tool. Currently, Anelio and the community have begun the construction of a space to receive tourists, students and researchers and start the great work of showing off the diversity of the forest La Esperanza. My goal, as part of the Great Leaf Foundation, is to support initiatives such as those of Anelio and work hand in hand to achieve connectivity between forest conservation, research and self-sustaining local development, to join efforts towards the recovery of our forests. This is the first step that will give rise to various projects that generate a change in favor of conservation.

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