How We Stop Logging

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Acres preserved by ADOPTA

How We Stop Deforestation

Logging, agriculture, and cattle ranching are the main contributers to deforestation around Chucanti. In the 90s, the region experience some of the most intense and devastating logging in the world- almost 1500 hectares a week. Deforestation in the region has slowed recently because the highest and most inaccessible mountain peaks remain. We would have lost the cloud forests of Chucanti as well were it not for the hard work and generous donations from ADOPTA.

© Noel Rowe

In this remote area, the logging rights to a parcel of old growth forest can be sold off for as little as $12 a tree. The deforested land is then burned down to soil and seeded with non-native grass. The grass is food for cattle, whos constant grazing prevent the forest from ever returning to that area. There are currently no protections in place to stop logging of the forest or promote responsible agriculture. To destroy the ancient forests of Chucanti, all that is necessary is an easily obtainable permit from the local authorities. A lot of the land ownership for this remote region is not officially recorded, so permission is often not even needed for logging companies to come in cut down the largest and most valuable trees.

For many years, this region was losing more than 3500 acres of old growth a week. Now only the Highest mountains remain, and even they are in danger.

Besides losing raw acreage of forest, there is the problem of habitat fragmentation as bits and pieces of forest are cut over the years. Many animals and ecosystems in neo-tropical rain forest rely on a continuum of old tree tops to travel and live in. Howler monkeys are one example of a species that travels exclusively through the canopy. If there are large gaps in the troop’s traveling routes, they are forced to move unnaturally along the ground. This leaves them exposed to predators, and stresses the troupes in many ways. In more extreme cases, as have been personally witnessed on Chucanti, loggers will cut down the entire forest except for a small island of trees on a steep slope or riverbank. The monkeys were trapped on that forest island that was too small to support them, and the surrounding burnt grasslands caused the troupe to slowly starve to death.

Not only monkeys depend on continuous forest to live: many frogs, insects, and other animals spend literally heir entire lives in the canopy. They are especially sensitive to the effects of an ever diminishing habitat, since their genetic diversity relies on habitats that are sparse and difficult to find even in a continuous forest.

Diminishing forest cover also allows for water to evaporate from the soils, devastating communities in the dry season and preventing new life from even taking root. The soils are quite poor and pourous, and rely on the network of roots to hold them together. When the rains do come, they wash away the top layer of fertile soil and expose the dry sterile clay beneath.

Our strategy to prevent deforestation involves protection, education, and reforestation.
Protection is our efforts to purchase land so that it can not ever be cut. We depend on donors and grants to help us buy plots of land from the locals. This is the primary expense of ADOPTA, and the only thing really standing between a beautiful cloud forest and barren landscape.

We also invest our time in education, teaching young and old about the importance of protecting the rain forest and how to make a living without destroying the ecosystemt. The majority of the people who sell the logging rights to the land are poor farmers and ranchers. They have families and eke out a living without paved roads or electricity. In our view, it is irresponsible to come to these families and simply tell them to stop cutting the forests without providing them alternative ways to have an income for their families. Rather than preach to families who have been living and working this land for generations about what not to do, we are trying to bring new ways of earning money Not only is it important to recognize the value of forests, but also to recognize the value of humans that live around them. We strive to balance conservation with education, because you can only save so much through sheer willpower- you need to teach others why it is worth protecting and create a culture around preservation. Please read about more our community presence and outreach!

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