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4.1. Urban forestry management in Quito prior to 1990
4.2. Urban forestry management in Quito 1990-present

This section focuses on the human actors responsible for creating and sustaining the urban and peri-urban forest ecosystem in Quito. First, a brief summary of management of the urban forest prior to this decade will be given as historical background for recent activities. The remainder of the section emphasizes action originating in both the public and private sectors since 1990, a period in which both city officials and citizen activists significantly increased their involvement in this field. To place human intervention in its context, additional information is also provided on current major management issues influencing the field of urban and peri-urban forestry in the Quito metropolitan area.

4.1. Urban forestry management in Quito prior to 1990

Little detailed information is available on the creation or management of Quito's urban forest prior to the 1980s. The substantial legacy of urban parks left by city leaders of the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries does, however, reveal the importance of urban green spaces to municipal governments during the colonial and early independence periods, especially in comparison with the other major metropolitan area of the country, Guayaquil.

In the more recent modern history of the city, and particularly during the era of explosive growth since the 1970s, it is clear that rapid urban expansion far outpaced the efforts of city officials to establish and maintain needed parks, green spaces, and urban trees. As already described, the preliminary needs assessment for the Quito urban forestry plan noted that there existed a significant deficit of street and park trees throughout the metropolitan area in 1990. Interviews with long-time employees of the City Department of Parks and Gardens support this observation with anecdotal accounts of the relatively minor role played by this governmental unit in the management of the urban and peri-urban forest of the city from 1970-1989. As an example, tree production by the city nursery was extremely low until the end of the 1980s, rarely exceeding an annual production of 5000 trees per year (Gangotena et al., 1990; Flores, pers. comm., 1995). According to these sources, the Subdirection of Parks and Gardens was also extremely understaffed and underfunded during this period (Morales, pers. comm., 1995; Moscoso, pers. comm., 1989).

Municipal legal and urban planning documents make relatively little reference to environmental management in general, or "green" urban environmental issues in particular until the late 1960s. In 1971, the first city planning ordinance was passed requiring the set-aside of 10% of the area of all new housing developments for public access green space. Not until the 1980 Master Plan of the city was mention made of the first territory declared as a municipal ecological protection zone in the city periphery, i.e., the undeveloped lands on the flanks of Mount Pichincha. Other ordinances contained minor references to protection of parks and trees, but no legal measures specifically related to parks, urban trees or other vegetation were passed in this period of time.

Outside municipal government, other public agencies emerged as direct actors in the urban forest ecosystem of Quito in the 1980s, most importantly with the creation of the nationally declared Protected Forest and Vegetation areas around the city during that decade. Actual management actions by the Ministry of Agriculture (MAG-INEFAN) in these areas and other outlying zones were minimal through the 1980s, however, mainly focusing on fire prevention and suppression during the dry months of late summer, and occasional reforestation or other activities related to watershed protection.

In the private sector, action regarding urban vegetation prior to 1990 was mixed. Both present and historical aerial views of Quito make clear that a large part of the "green" aspect of the city can be attributed to the actions of private homeowners, whose walled courtyards typically contain a variety of plants, regardless of lot size or socio-economic class. Organized community action around urban vegetation in public spaces of the city did not become common until the 1970s, paralleling the rise of the environmental movement in Ecuador as a whole. In addition to single-issue advocacy efforts such as that to preserve the urban greenbelt, or to establish the Bellavista Park, local environmental groups also began organizing the first small tree planting campaigns in parks and neighborhoods of the city in the 1980s.

4.2. Urban forestry management in Quito 1990-present

4.2.1. Major issues in management of the urban forest ecosystem in Quito
4.2.2. Major social actors involved in urban and peri-urban forestry in Quito

A significant shift has occurred in the level and type of human management of the urban forest ecosystem in Quito from 1990 to the present. The specific intervention of key public and private actors in this period is outlined below.

4.2.1. Major issues in management of the urban forest ecosystem in Quito

As a preface to this description, it is important to understand the context of urban management issues in Quito in which human intervention in the urban forest occurs. All urban issues which appear to have a significant impact on vegetation in the city must be considered, whether or not they explicitly address vegetation or natural resource management.

Boxes 4.1 and 4.2 on the following pages summarize a number of the most significant of these urban issues in Quito, once again separately discussed for the urban core and peri-urban areas. In these charts, issues directly pertaining to management of the urban forest are included, as well as others indirectly affecting the system. 12 For each issue, both opportunities and constraints concerning the urban forest ecosystem are described. However, significant differences often exist between socio-economic classes which delimit the urban forestry opportunities and constraints available specifically to each population. The information on opportunities and constraints in the charts is therefore also structured to distinguish between "high" and "low" income residents in each of the urban core area and peri-urban zones.

12 Note that there is some overlap with the ecological and social functions of urban and peri-urban vegetation previously described in Section 3.

4.2.2. Major social actors involved in urban and peri-urban forestry in Quito Public Interveners Private Interveners

In response to the major management issues described above, human intervention of many types has occurred in the Quito metropolitan area. Profiles of this public and private activity in the urban forest ecosystem of Quito are given below.

Box 4.1. Major Management Issues In the Urban Forest Ecosystem - Urban Core Area








Direct Management Issues

Environmental Services and Amenities

· some neighbourhood organizations in poor peripheral neighbourhoods are beginning to recognize the importance of environmental services of urban vegetation for their own health and safety (especially soil stabilization and water supply), and are including these concerns in their community organization and advocacy
· many international assistance organizations, including environmental groups, are granting financial and other support to urban environmental efforts; poorer urban residents are beginning to recognize these sources of potential support, and are increasingly attracted to urban forestry campaigns
· in private home spaces of poorer neighbourhoods, trees and other plants are much desired for their ornamentation, shade and other amenity benefits, and are generally well-cared for In these sites
· government incentives could encourage poor urban residents to preserve existing or plant additional vegetation to provide environmental services or amenities of general public benefit

· high-income residents have a sufficient level of existing services and the luxury to be able to afford to think in the long-term, and to place value In environmental amenities over the short-term economic benefits of urban vegetation
· many higher income people are Involved in or influenced by the environmental movement in the city, which advocates the preservation and enhancement of urban vegetation for environmental services or amenities
· upper income residents often have an expectation of, and an ability to get more attention by the city parks department for ornamental and recreation amenities in their neighbourhoods

· the urban poor can often ill afford to be concerned with the long-term sustainability of environmental services or amenities of urban vegetation, as they struggle to meet immediate needs, some of which are in direct competition with these uses

· high-income property owners may desire to use their property in ways that remove, damage or otherwise adversely impact the existing vegetation currently providing environmental services and amenities

Production Forestry

· although limited, the promotion of production forestry on vacant lands within the city could provide employment opportunities for some poorer residents

· private landowners not planning to develop their urban land parcels for ten to twenty years might be encouraged to lease their land for fast growing tree species

· poor residents needing housing might resent the dedication of vacant urban lands to production forestry within the city, especially If they are public lands
· poor residents currently informally extracting and selling wood or wood products from forests within the city might be displaced by increased highly managed and controlled production forestry
· uncertainly of land tenure In peripheral neighbourhoods, lack of space In poor central slum areas, or status as renters ail discourage the long-term investment of planting and care of timber trees in private lands

· production forestry is not the most lucrative use of urban land owned by high-income residents, so this activity is unlikely to occur as a permanent activity on private lands within the city core without economic Incentives


· increased urban food production could contribute to the household income of poorer urban residents
· small-scale production of non-food crops could potentially provide a source of Income to poorer households
· trees and other vegetation which provides food, are very attractive to residents in private home gardens, and tend to be cared for much more than in public spaces

· while income incentives are not as strong in higher income classes, planting of fruit trees in home gardens is still a relatively easy way to contribute to the food budget of a family of whatever means

· uncertainty of land tenure, and the need for quick turnover may lead to agricultural practices which are unsustainable, and cause damage to soils and pre-existing vegetation
· uncertainty of land tenure In peripheral neighbourhoods, lack of space in poor central slum areas, or status as renters all discourage the long-term investment of planting and care of fruit or nut trees in home gardens

· upper income residents may consider agriculture in the city a degrading or "backward" activity, or one which causes undesirable negative externalities in an urban setting
· more well-to-do landowners of vacant property within the city may resent the squatting of urban farmers using their land to cultivate crops, graze animals, etc.
· fruit and nut trees in public spaces may be perceived as a nuisance because of the mess they make on streets and sidewalks

Indirect Management Issues

Land Markets

· on lands with secure tenure, well-cared for vegetation on or near a property increases its value on the land market

· well-cared for vegetation on or near a property increases its value on the land market

· removal of existing tree cover can be a strategy to secure tenure of urban peripheral lands for housing or other urban uses by the poor

· uncertain financial environments encourage speculating in peri-urban land. since real estate Is a stable hedge against Inflationary pressures
· most vacant land held within city limits by wealthy landowners was purchased for speculative ends, and will eventually be converted to urban uses. usually involving the destruction of some or all existing vegetative cover, and discouraging efforts to plant trees or other long-lived vegetation on these sites


· trees and other vegetation, especially that which provides food crops, are very attractive to residents for planting in private home gardens, and tend to be cared for much more than in public spaces

· upper income residential neighbourhoods often have an expectation of, and an ability to get more attention from the city parks department to increase vegetation in the neighbourhood
· upper income homeowners have more expendable time and income to devote to ornamental gardening in their own yards, and to advocating on behalf of public green spaces in their neighbourhoods

· the urgent need for additional housing makes settlement even in ecologically sensitive zones attractive, often leading to destruction of existing urban vegetation. or removal of potential land for planting vegetation
· basic shelter and associated services are the overwhelming priority for the urban poor, such that urban forestry may be considered an unnecessary 'luxury'

· despite land use controls protecting sensitive ecological zones, attractive and profitable housing investments can be realized in these areas, and pressure is often brought to bear to permit construction of upper income housing in these areas, leading to destruction of existing vegetation


· tree planting in watershed zones can help to protect existing city water supply provision
· judicious siting of vegetation can help overall water drainage in many areas, protecting existing sewer Infrastructure investments
· tree planting in areas of landslide risk or flooding can help prevent or mitigate natural disasters

· tree planting in watershed zones can help to protect existing city water supply provision
· judicious siting of vegetation can help overall water drainage in many areas, protecting existing sewer infrastructure investments
· tree planting in areas of landslide risk or flooding can help prevent or mitigate natural disasters

· a priority for poorer urban residents is to acquire basic city services including electricity and telephone, water and sewage, and paving of roads in their neighbourhoods, and not acquiring urban trees
· current lack of such infrastructure in the streets and public spaces of some poorer neighbourhoods makes trees planting difficult or doomed to failure, since vegetation will often be destroyed when such Infrastructure Is eventually installed

· higher income residents resent when trees and other vegetation interfere or damage costly infrastructure
· much neighbourhood organization in Quito occurs around acquisition of local infrastructure, once these services are received, is often 'difficult to foster collective action around other issues such as tree planting

Industrial Development

· planting of vegetation can serve as screening and buffers to negative impacts of neighbouring industrial land uses

· the involvement of wealthy industry owners in support of urban forestry activities can earn much-needed public good will for these companies

· contaminants from industrial activity inside the city can negatively impact urban vegetation in poorer residential neighbourhoods often bordering these zones
· citizen activism to fight the negative environmental impacts of urban Industrial activity may be considered more urgent and a higher priority than activities related to the urban forest ecosystem
· the desire for employment brought by expanded industrial activity may be greater than the concern for impacts on the urban environment caused by these activities

· for upper income industrialists, the positive economic benefits of industry development are more important than the negative Impacts on urban vegetation at or near work sites

In addition, tables summarizing some of the specific actors involved today appear in Appendix D, separated into the categories of public and private interveners. These charts include information on the different organizations of concern, the geographic scope of their work (i.e. urban or peri-urban, activity site), the type of urban forestry activity in which they have been involved, as well as some organizational characteristics of each. Public Interveners

· The Municipality of Quito, Subdirection of Parks and Gardens

Background: The administration of ex-Mayor Rodrigo Paz (1988-1992) was noteworthy for a number of significant reforms of the municipal government, including the restructuring of the local administration and the creation of the Metropolitan District of Quito. One area of special interest to the mayor was the urban environment, and in particular, the state of urban parks and green spaces throughout the city. In fact, with the arrival of the Mayor Paz, not only was there a marked change in the commitment of the public municipal sector to improving the state of the urban forest ecosystem, but the efforts of private actors in the city were also much encouraged and facilitated because of the transformation in official attitude.

Immediately upon taking office, Paz hired a new head of the municipal Subdirection of Parks and Gardens. Ingeniero Forestal Esteban Moscoso has since reinvigorated the unit with an expanded and more professional staff, and the personal desire to improve the face of parks in Quito through an extensive public art programme as well as green space reforestation and beautification efforts. During the Paz administration, the supervisory and administrative staff of the Subdirection increased from 10 to 35 individuals, the pool of contracted city gardeners grew from 400 to almost 1000, and the capital works budget of the Subdirection exceeded $US 200,000 a year through 1993 (Gangotena et al., 1990; Lopez, pers. comm., 1995; Flores, pers. comm., 1996). Also, with the help of the substantial influence of the Mayor, the Subdirection began to garner significant financial support from the private sector of Quito for tree planting and long-term maintenance of public green spaces throughout the metropolis, reaching thousands of dollars per year.

Jamil Mahuad was elected as the new mayor in 1992, and, as the candidate supported by former Mayor Paz, has been committed to carry forth many of the policies initiated in the prior administration. In the area of the urban environment in general, and urban parks and green spaces in particular, Mahuad has been a positive supporter; however, the level of his involvement has not been as intense or as personal as that experienced under the former mayor. Under the current administration, the Subdirection of Parks and Gardens has less autonomy to initiate actions than formerly. Further, in the general move toward privatization of municipal functions, the entire Direction of Public Works, under which the Subdirection of Parks and Gardens falls, has been transformed into a municipal enterprise. As a consequence, the Subdirection (which has little means to raise its own income) has not been able to maintain its personnel and operating budget, and is no longer receiving large allocations for new projects. In fact, Subdirection personnel has been reduced significantly in the last two years, to about 800 employees in 1995, and 560 in 1996. Further reductions are planned over the next four years through retirements and transfers of staff, possibly eventually leading to total dissolution of the unit as a public institution, to be replaced by city financed micro-enterprises (Flores, pers. comm., 1996). Some comments regarding the specific functions currently carried out by this unit follow:

Urban Forestry Planning: As has already been discussed, the Subdirection of Parks and Gardens of Quito participated in an extensive planning process for urban forestry within the central core area of the city in 1990 and 1991. This resulted in the collection of a considerable amount of information as well as suggestions for action which have been useful in guiding some work of the Subdirection. In particular, many of the recommendations regarding improvements in management of the city nursery, as well as species siting recommendations and other guidelines have been consistently employed as an outcome of the planning process. However, many of the other recommendations of the plan have not been followed, especially those having to do with internal administrative organization of the department, information management, and public promotion. In addition, there has been no further systematic planning for urban forestry since the project ended. The result is that a considerable proportion of the work that is currently done in urban tree planting and care is still done in response to emergencies, last minute requests of city officials, or pressure from particular neighborhood groups, and not as part of a well considered long-term plan. In mid-1995, a new staff member was hired as an administrative second-in-command to Subdirector Moscoso, who may provide needed assistance in promoting some of these administrative changes (Morales, pers. comm., 1995).

Production of Plants: One of the few areas in which planning recommendations were implemented and even surpassed by the Subdirection is that of plant production in municipal nurseries. The transformation of the two city plant propagation facilities in Chillogallo (21 hectares) and Guayllabamba (14 hectares) has been remarkable since professional foresters were hired to manage these properties in 1992. Both improved technical management and administrative procedures have been instituted, and these two nurseries now serve as national leaders in plant propagation for urban applications. Although precise figures are not available, production is estimated to have reached approximately 130,000 new trees and 70,000 other plants per year in Chillogallo, and about 20,000 trees and 60,000 other plants in Guayllabamba (Flores, pers. comm., 1995; Hernández, pers. comm., 1995). In line with recent policy, many of these trees are being kept in the nursery for two or more years to ensure they reach an adequate size for outplanting.

Costs of production in 1995 were estimated to be about $US 2.00 for a typical one meter high tree, $US 3.50 for a typical 1.5 meter high tree, and up to $US 10 for a two meter high tree. Slower growing species had a proportionately higher cost. The typical ornamental plant had a production cost of $US 1.00 or less (Flores, pers. comm., 1995).

Planting of Vegetation: A special unit of Afforestation was created within the Subdirection of Parks in 1990, consisting of a chief and team of 17 urban tree planters (Torres, pers. comm., 1995). This work group has planted hundreds of thousands of trees in Quito since 1989, unfortunately often without sufficient advance planning. A relatively small percentage of these trees have survived, especially among those planted during 1991 and 1992 as part of a poorly conceived and prematurely executed massive urban tree planting campaign throughout the city. This politically driven effort was promoted by Mayor Paz against the advice of technical staff of the Subdirection of Parks, and resulted in enormous losses of young trees which were planted too small and without adequate protection. These mortality problems have been largely resolved in more recent years, with the planting of much fewer trees per year (ca. 10,000 in 1995) of larger growing stock, and with more careful species selection. Tree survival now averages 72% at 12 months from planting (Torres, pers. comm., 1995). No exact costs of tree planting were available, but in 1996, tree planting overall by the municipality was drastically reduced in large part because of the high labor costs associated with preparing planting holes.

Photo 4.1: "Las Cuadras" nursery in south Quito - with expanded growing beds for urban tree production

Maintenance of Vegetation: Maintenance of urban vegetation in public spaces has been only fair in most of the city, and the bulk of city contracted gardeners are dedicated to grass cutting and weeding in parks and medians. In addition, in 1995, a team of 19 pruners and two assistants was devoted to tree pruning throughout the city, quite often of an emergency nature. Preventive tree pruning and fertilization are rarely done, and pest control has been nonexistent, although this is also largely unnecessary for most species. The maintenance division suffers from the same inadequate planning as other work units within the Subdirection, although some efforts have been made recently to achieve better coordination of efforts, and develop a more systematic cycle of preventive care of urban trees and bushes. However, such efforts are limited since the maintenance staff is small, and vehicles, equipment and tools are inadequate to cover the existing number of public trees, much less any new ones being planted (Morales, pers. comm., 1995). In addition, better planning and coordination has not been emphasized by Subdirection administrators. Finally, while city gardeners are starting to receive more technical training, the information received is quite basic, and does not necessarily reflect the state-of-the-art in the field of urban plant management. Further, only relatively few foreman-level employees have been provided with this training, and the level of technical capacity in urban plant care of the many hundreds of contract employees is generally minimal (Andrade, pers. Comm, 1995).

Despite these setbacks and continued need for improvement, there has been a demonstrable increase in municipal attention paid to urban vegetation within the urban core since 1989. In contrast, the peri-urban parishes have remained at a fairly constant level of public park maintenance and tree planting even under recent municipal administrations, with approximately 42 employees caring for public green spaces in these towns (Jimenez, pers. comm., 1995). The lack of improvement in these zones may be due to the fact that suburban parks have in practice been administered not by the Subdirection of Parks and Gardens, but directly by the parent Direction of Public Works, a municipal entity which clearly does not place urban vegetation at the top of its priority list. Specific costs for maintenance of urban trees or green spaces in any zone have not been calculated by the Subdirection. 13

13 Budget figures for the Subdirection do not separate maintenance activities from planting, construction/maintenance of park infrastructure, litter removal or other activities.

Photo 4.2: Municipality of Quito tree planting campaign promotion poster (ca. 1991 - it says "Let's make the commitment to plant more trees")

Photo 4.3: Municipal worker watering a park in north Quito

Photo 4.4: Municipal worker taking down a precarious eucalyptus tree using low-tech approach

Information Management: Related to the inadequate level of planning in the Subdirection, efforts to plant and manage urban vegetation in public spaces of the city are severely hampered by the lack of a good, updated, information management system. While the Subdirection has come a long way since 1989 in terms of computerized personnel and budget administration, this new technology has not been applied to the production, planting or maintenance functions of the department. Some of the mid-level staff is interested in pursuing better information management, and the Chief of the Design and Maintenance section is independently (and manually) collecting and storing inventory information on city green spaces. Unfortunately, leadership and support from the Subdirector of Parks and Gardens has been lacking in this endeavor to date (Morales, pers. comm., 1995).

Legislation and Ordinances: As part of the urban forest planning process conducted by Fundación Natura, a model city ordinance for protection and promotion of urban forestry in Quito was prepared with legal consultants. There has been no effort made on the part of Subdirection personnel to promote the passage of such a formal mechanism, or any other legal reforms related to urban vegetation. Some initiatives on the part of individual city councilors have also not yielded positive results, in part because of this lack of city staff enthusiasm.

Public Promotion and Education: The Subdirection of Parks and Gardens has been involved in the production of a few municipal publications reporting on various aspects of their programme, however, no public promotion activities per se are currently carried out by this municipal unit. There are other entities within the municipal government structure which are more directly involved in this type of activity, especially the central public relations office. In fact, the messages of caring for public parks and planting more trees in Quito have formed a significant part of the general public promotion campaign of the municipality. This campaign has included television, radio and print media advertisements as well as posters and other printed materials with broad appeal.

In addition to this effort, a staff of municipal social promoters carry out outreach and extension work on a broad range of community development issues. These social promoters have periodically worked with neighborhood residents to share information about urban trees, and upcoming tree planting campaigns. Although well-intentioned, these efforts are infrequent, are rarely accompanied with adequate didactic or promotional material, receive no follow-up, and are carried out by staff who do not have extensive knowledge of the field of urban forestry. In addition, neither in this case nor in any promotional campaigns of the city are technical staff of the Subdirection of Parks always consulted regarding the content or structure of information to be disseminated.

· Other Municipal Agencies

In addition to the Subdirection of Parks and Gardens, other units of municipal government have been very involved in the urban and peri-urban forest ecosystem. One of the most important of these is the Direction of Planning, which has had the lead role in developing and managing some large-scale projects such as the 500+ hectare Bellavista Park, or the preservation of such historically or ecologically significant sites as El Panecillo in central Quito. Unfortunately, coordination with staff from the Subdirection of Parks is often weak in these cases, and institutional jealousies occasionally get in the way of preparing and executing the best plan for each site.

Box 4.2 Major Management Issues in the Urban Forest Ecosystem - Peri-Urban Area








Direct Management Issues

Environmental Services and Amenities

· ecotourism-related employment could be structured to Involve more local residents in the benefits of protecting certain vegetated lands In the pert-urban area
· taxes of urban core residents could fund incentive programs for rural landholders to maintain their lands In forest cover, in return for the 'environmental services received from this land
· composting facilities could be developed for the processing of urban organic waste In outlying agricultural zones, to help fertilize peri-urban agricultural and forest lands, and also serve as employment poles for lower-Income peri-urban residents

· many upper-income urban core residents are relocating in first or second homes In the peri-urban area, bringing with them their values of environmental preservation of local vegetation

· demands for low-income housing in expanding urban settlements puts pressure on traditional rural land uses of pre-existing residents
· desire for new employment In peri-urban and rural areas may be a greater priority for poorer peri-urban residents than protecting amenity benefits of vegetation which accrue mainly to residents of the urbanized core area

· wealthy landowners resent any restrictions on their ability to maximize economic benefits from their property, at the same time that vegetative land uses (e.g. agriculture, forestry) do not yield maximum profits in an urbanizing area
· pre-existing rural landowners may be more interested in working agricultural lands than In environmental amenity values of peri-urban vegetation, and at times may come into conflict with newer (urban employed) homeowners over land use

Production Forestry

· where urbanization pressures are less urgent, or where government Incentives are provided, community-based plantation forestry might be appropriate in some areas of the peri-urban zone, as a source of household products and/or for commercial production

· where urbanization pressures are less urgent, or where government incentives are provided, large-scale private plantation forestry might be appropriate In some areas of the peri-urban zone

· traditional rural forest extractive practices In peri-urban woodlands may be in conflict with urban-based preservationist values in outlying open spaces
· the spread of urbanized land uses is removing the source of many forest wood products traditionally contributing to the livelihoods of local people
· the shift in types of employment opportunities In the metropolitan area has reduced the attractiveness or need for traditional wood-product subsistence activities for some families

· even large-scale production forestry is unlikely to make enough money to justify keeping the most desirable lands in the peri-urban area out of urban uses


· a shift to higher value crops could provide some small rural landholders with Increased income while maintaining agricultural lands
· taxes of urban core residents could fund Incentive programs for rural landholders to maintain their lands in agricultural production, In return for the environmental services received from this land

· a shift to higher value crops could provide some large, commercially oriented rural landholders with Increased income, enabling them to maintain lands In agricultural production
· taxes of urban core residents could fund incentive programs for rural landholders to maintain their lands In agricultural production, in return for the environmental services received from this land

· traditional small-scale agricultural production has become uneconomic in some peri-urban areas where land values have risen due to urbanization pressure
· down-stream effects of urban settlements have adversely affected soil and water quality related to agricultural production
· shifting economic bases in metropolitan areas make urban employment opportunities more attractive than agriculture for many lower Income peri-urban residents

· traditional agricultural production has become uneconomic In some peri-urban areas where land values have risen due to urbanization pressures
· down-stream effects of urban settlements have adversely affected soil and water quality related to agricultural production

Indirect Management Issues

Land Markets

· the large amount of Idle land purchased for speculation throughout the peri-urban area provides 'Informal' opportunities for urban agriculture and grazing on the part of lower-Income residents

· upper-Income landowners can receive some rents from Idle parcels In the peri-urban zone through leasing lands for agriculture or forestry production until urban development occurs

· increasing land values in peri-urban zones are pushing out lower-income original residents, who are pressured to sell their agricultural lands for urban uses

· wealthy agricultural land-owners also feel economic pressure to convert their lands to residential developments or other urban uses, usually resulting in loss of vegetative cover
· the attraction of the speculative land market leads many wealthy land owners to buy up cheaper lands for development quite distant from the urban core. leading to an overall fragmentation of the peri-urban landscape


· trees and other vegetation, especially that which provides food crops, are very attractive to residents for planting m private home gardens, and tend to be cared for much more than In public spaces

· trees and other vegetation are vary attractive to residents for planting In private home gardens, and tend to be cared for much more than In public spaces

· poor urban residents spill out over central city boundaries seeking available land to construct housing, regardless of the destruction of existing agricultural or wooded lands in peripheral rural zones
· removal of vegetation is actually encouraged In some cases, since it can help to secure tenure In the case of land Invasions for new housing settlements

· as urban conditions deteriorate, relocating higher Income residences to peripheral rural zones close to the city, or locating a second home there, becomes an attractive option, leading to urbanization of formerly agricultural or wooded lands


· increased construction of access roads and other facilities In peri-urban zones favors the development of ecotourism activities and greater access of the urban population to the natural areas surrounding the urban core, leading to potential employment opportunities for lower-income residents

· increased construction of access roads and other facilities in peri-urban zones favors greater access of the urban population to the natural areas surrounding the urban core. and more advocacy on the part of urban residents to protect these zones from urbanization

· In an effort to find land for housing or earn livelihoods, important watershed lands are often adversely Impacted, reducing the amount and quality of the urban and peri-urban water supply
· desire for expanded city services to outlying zones, Including roads, water systems, electricity, etc., often involves direct permanent destruction of existing vegetative cover, and indirectly encourages further urbanized settlement of these area

· In an effort to find land for housing or earn livelihoods, important watershed lands are often adversely impacted, reducing the amount and quality of the urban and peri-urban water supply
· desire for expanded city services to outlying zones. Including roads, water systems, electricity, etc., often involves direct permanent destruction of existing vegetative cover, and Indirectly encourages further urbanized settlement of these area

Industrial Development

· the provision of non-agricultural employment opportunities In the peri-urban zone may relieve pressures to expand agricultural activity Into marginal forest area and grasslands in the peri-urban zone

· environmentally aware upper-Income dwellers in the peri-urban zone may actively resist the relocation of destructive industrial activity, or insist that business owners mitigate or compensate for their negative Impacts

· displaced peri-urban agricultural workers may welcome the arrival of new sources of industrial employment, even if they are environmentally destructive
· down-stream effects from industrial expansion may adversely affect preexisting vegetative uses, Including agriculture and forestry in peri-urban zones

· industrial entrepreneurs find outlying lands less expensive and more attractive for facility expansion, leading to the loss of agricultural and forested lands In the peri-urban zone · existing wealthy landowners may seek to make the maximum profit from sale of their agricultural lands to urban uses, including relocating Industries
· down-stream effects from industrial expansion may adversely affect preexisting vegetative uses, including agriculture and forestry in peri-urban zones

The Direction of Planning has also undertaken some efforts to coordinate actions related to disaster prevention in Quito, including the landslide risk on the western edge of the city. Engineering studies on slope stabilization in the Pichincha Protected Forest have been undertaken in conjunction with city planners working in the northern sector of Quito, and with funding from the Interamerican Development Bank. Most of the interest to date has been on the construction of engineering works rather than preventive tree planting in the zones, however (Zea, pers. comm., 1995; Estrella, pers. comm., 1995).

The Municipal Water and Sewage Company (Empresa Municipal de Alcantarillado y Agua Potable de Quito - EMAAP-Q) has also been somewhat active in the peri-urban zones of the city in protecting the watersheds supplying the city. Their efforts have included some land use planning, as well as coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Armed Forces and local schools to conduct reforestation efforts in certain zones. However, inadequate staff and resources to produce appropriate tree species or execute projects on the ground have limited the effectiveness of this agency.

Some mention should also be made of the general intervention of the Mayor's office and legal staff in matters relating to the designated protection zones of the city fringe. Spontaneous housing developments, harvesting of trees, burning of grasslands and other activities are frequently denounced by private citizens and community groups to the Mayor's office. Official response has varied over the years depending on the specific case history, the particular politician involved and the lands in question, but in sum has ranged from an intermediate to weak commitment to stringently protecting the zone.

· Non-Municipal Public Agencies

Regarding other public agencies outside the municipal sphere, the national level Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), and specifically its forestry subsidiary, the Instituto Nacional Ecuatoriano de Forestación y Areas Naturales (INEFAN), still has primary jurisdiction over much of the lands designated as Protected Forest and Vegetation Areas directly surrounding the city. However, INEFAN has carried out only minimal management in these areas. In fact, the agency only has an active, ongoing programme in a single portion of protected zone, i.e., the western edge of the protected area comprised by the Pichincha Protected Forest, and even there, support is weak (Falconí, pers. comm., 1995; Galindo, pers. comm., 1995). The management plan prepared for this area in 1984 was not at all implemented, and only minimal planning for the area has been conducted since then. Specifically, plans are currently being prepared in a few upper micro-watershed areas of the Protected Forest and Vegetation zone (e.g., in the Cinto area) in collaboration with the Section of Watersheds of INEFAN (Jalán, pers. comm., 1995).

In 1995 there were three active duty forest guards and one programme chief assigned to the Pichincha Protected Forests on a year round basis (Falconí, pers. comm., 1995). These men do some outreach and extension work with local residents during the winter months, and patrol the area throughout the year. Since there is only one functioning motorcycle for the area, most of this work must be done on foot, limiting the territory which can be covered. During fire season (approximately June to October), additional personnel is assigned to patrol the area fighting grassland and forest fires (at least five men), and occasional use of a truck and a Jeep is assigned (Galindo, pers. comm., 1993). In general, the unit has received no budget for increased personnel, or investments in infrastructure or equipment for the unit, nor are any planned in the near future.

In addition to work focused in the Pichincha Protected Forest, INEFAN has participated in occasional tree plantings in watersheds both within and outside the protected zone itself. Most of these efforts have formed part of a larger, national level cooperative effort with two other government agencies. In 1981 an agreement was signed between the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) and the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) to include tree planting campaigns as an option to meet requirements for graduation from high school throughout the country. The Armed Forces of Ecuador (FFAA) signed a renewed memorandum of understanding with these two institutions in 1991 to expand and strengthen the programme. As part of this effort, numerous reforestation projects with students have occurred in both rural and urban zones of Ecuador since the 1980s, including several in the urban and peri-urban area of Quito. For example, plantings have occurred on the hill of El Panecillo in the historic center of Quito, and, more recently, forestry projects have been implemented in watersheds of the metropolitan zone (e.g., Cinto, Pita), in collaboration with the Municipal Sewage and Water Company and a local NGO, Fundación Amazonas. While a valuable educational experience, these efforts have often been hampered by inadequate planning, the use of extremely small seedlings, an exclusive focus on a few exotic forestry species and the lack of follow-up after planting. In addition to this inter-institutional coordination, INEFAN occasionally coordinates its watershed protection efforts with the national Institute Ecuatoriano de Recursos Hídricos (INERHI), but this agency is also not a key player in preventive reforestation work in these zones.

The Ministry of Education (MEC), and its more recently created subsidiary division, Nuevo Rumbo Cultural (NRC), have also been involved in the general area of environmental education for over ten years. While urban vegetation has never been an explicit focus of the environmental education curriculum, in 1993 the NRC participated in at least one tree growing classroom project with Fundación Natura and a local publisher of school textbooks (Susaeta).

Finally, the national level coordinating institution for all Ecuadorian municipalities, the Asociación de Municipalidades de Ecuador (AME), has been involved in general organizational capacity-building for municipal governments throughout the country for many years. The area of the urban environment is emerging as part of the training and technical assistance agenda of this association, but has been limited thus far to issues of water supply, water contamination, and general waste management in urban areas. Discussions over the years with environmental advocacy organizations such as Fundación Natura have elicited interest on the part of AME in expanding. efforts in the area of urban forest ecosystem management, but no action has been taken to date, in part because of lack of expertise and information in this field within the organization.

· Public Universities

Public universities in Quito (and in Ecuador in general) have had next to no formal institutional role in urban and peri-urban forestry to date. However, indirectly they have had significant influence because most of the architects, planners and engineers responsible for urban design and development in Quito were educated in these institutions. Likewise, professional foresters and agronomists working with urban or peri-urban vegetation in Quito were also largely educated in public universities. 14

14 Some foresters and planners working for the municipality were educated in other countries, although still without a strong specialization in urban forestry.

At this time there is no degree or higher education specialization offered in either landscape architecture or urban forestry in public universities in Ecuador. The two major forestry degree programmes in the country, located in Ibarra (northern highlands) and Loja (southern highlands) include no specialized coursework in urban forestry. On an occasional basis, short courses have been conducted in the Architecture Department of the Central University of Ecuador related to landscape design and urban environmental management. In addition, students from numerous disciplines (including architecture, agronomy, botany, biology, geography, sociology and forestry) have conducted independent thesis projects over the years related to either biophysical or social aspects of urban or peri-urban vegetation in Quito.

· International Public Agencies

Bilateral and multilateral government assistance or international support (e.g., from United Nations agencies) is almost universally channeled through national and local government institutions within Ecuador. To date, very little of such support has been directed in any way to the promotion or maintenance of the urban forest ecosystem in the Quito metropolitan area. The German Government's international assistance mission, GTZ, has been extremely active in all aspects of municipal administration and support throughout the country, and urban green space management and forestry is included as one of the agency's authorized activity areas. However, GTZ assistance only responds to the priorities identified by local city officials, and Quito government leaders have not solicited aid from the institution to collaborate in any activities thus far related to parks, trees or other urban vegetation issues. The GTZ forestry programme is independent of the municipal development programme, and is exclusively involved in rural forest management issues at this time.

The U.S. AID's Natural Resources Programme is likewise primarily involved in forest management in the rural zones of the country. In the mid-1980s, AID financed the preparation of the management plan for the Pichincha Protected Forest on the outskirts of the city, but their interest in the peri-urban zone has diminished since that time. Currently, they are providing extensive support of general environmental education programmes (through the local NGO, OIKOS). While these programmes definitely benefit large populations of urban students, they currently contain no materials or focus in the area of urban green spaces or vegetation (Encalada, pers. comm., 1995). Also with the assistance of the natural resource programme of U.S. AID, the U.S. Forest Service has served as a forest fire consultant to INEFAN, Fundación Natura and Partners of the Americas in the development of a proposed forest protection project in the peri-urban zone of the city (Murray, 1992). The Regional Housing and Urban Development Office (RHUDO) within AID is more directly involved in urban management issues, especially low-income housing and health and sanitation issues, but currently has no programme related to urban vegetation.

The U.S. Peace Corps began its support of urban forestry efforts in Quito in 1989, when the first volunteer was placed with the Quito chapter of the local NGO Fundación Natura. Volunteers from 1989-1995 have been involved in planning, inter-institutional coordination, training, technical assistance and coordination of tree planting programmes. The Peace Corps-Washington Office of Training and Programme Support (OTAPS) also recently financed a national level training course in urban forestry for intermediate-sized cities, which was co-sponsored by Fundación Natura.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) indirectly supported the preparation of the Quito ten-year urban forestry plan in 1990-1991, by channeling funds through the National Pre-Investment Fund of the Ecuadorian Development Bank (FONAPRE-BEDE). As already mentioned, IDB has also financed slope stabilization studies for the Pichincha foothills on the western side of the city, and recently approved a $US 20 million loan for the control of flooding and mudslides in this area. This project will include construction of infrastructure, soil conservation activities, solid waste management, and community promotion and training (El Comercio, 1996).

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization has a large programme in rural participatory forestry and agroforestry in Ecuador, but to date has not been involved in urban or peri-urban issues. Other U.N. entities, e.g. the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS-Habitat), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) likewise focus the majority of their attention in Ecuador either on rural environmental issues, or on "brown" urban environmental issues related to housing, infrastructure or services. Private Interveners

The efforts of ex-Mayor Rodrigo Paz and the accompanying change in official attitude towards urban vegetation and parks in the city were also significant in encouraging and facilitating the efforts of private actors promoting the urban environment in Quito in general, and the urban forest ecosystem in particular. These actors represent the entire gamut of civil society in the city, and fall into a number of broad categories. Some observations follow regarding these general classes of private interveners, as background to the summary list of currently active private actors presented in Appendix D.

· Local Non-Governmental Organizations

The private non-profit sector has been key in advocating urban and peri-urban "green" issues within the Quito metropolitan area. Since the formation in the early 1980s of the Quito chapter of the largest national environmental group, Fundación Natura, private citizens have had a large influence in the preservation of existing green space, as well as in the increased level of planting of urban vegetation throughout the city. Fundación Natura has been the NGO which has been most consistently and intensively active in management of the urban forest ecosystem of Quito over the years, both alone and in association with other public and private entities. Highlights of the achievements of this group are presented in Boxes 4.3 and 4.4. A more detailed description of this organization's private management of a peri-urban protected area appears in Box 4.5.

Other environmental groups also sprang up in Quito in the mid-1980s, including Tierra Viva (an associated but autonomous chapter of the Cuenca parent group) and Acción Ecológica, both of which have national-scale agendas, but which have also generally directed some interest and action to urban environmental issues. Tierra Viva is currently not active as an organization in Quito, but was involved in the early 1990s in the establishment of a Protected Forest and Vegetation zone in the Mindo area just to the northwest (but outside) of the legally designated metropolitan area (a district where another Quito NGO, Fundación Maquipucuna, also has a private reserve area).

Acción Ecológica has for many years organized summer youth brigades in the Pichincha Protected Forest, to detect and help combat the frequent fires which occur in this zone at that time of year. Although the effort has been critiqued over the years by public and private agencies because of the lack of training, proper equipment and organization of the brigades, coordination with both municipal officials and INEFAN fire fighters has greatly improved in recent years. In addition, although the on-the-ground effectiveness of the fire detection and suppression activity can be debated, there have been significant positive impacts in environmental education on the youths involved. Acción Ecológica has also been active intermittently in an urban organic gardening project which included for a time a demonstration plot located at the Las Cuadras municipal nursery in Chillogallo (currently inactive) (Yánez, pers. comm., 1995; Galindo, pers. comm., 1995).

Recently, some other private environmental groups in Quito have initiated some action in the area of protection or enhancement of the urban forest ecosystem. These include the recently formed Fundación Amazonas, working under a memorandum of understanding with the Municipal Water and Sewage Company (EMAAP-Q) on issues related to watershed protection in the peri-urban zone of the city (Urgiles, 1995). Other groups planning future interventions involving urban vegetation include Ecourbe, and the Asociación Cristiana de Jóvenes (i.e., the YMCA).

BOX 4.3: Fundación Natura - NGO leader in Quito Urban Forest Ecosystem Activities

Fundación Natura was founded as a national private non-profit environmental organization in 1979, with a special focus on environmental education and policy advocacy on issues of broad interest. By 1983, the Quito Chapter of the organization was created, meeting the need for a non-governmental entity focused exclusively on issues pertaining to the urban and peri-urban environment of the capital city. The Chapter has been under the leadership of Executive Regional Director Wania Cobo since 1986, and has become one of the leading institutions in the country working in the area of the urban ecosystem. The Chapter now has eight permanent full-time office staff working in all areas, in addition to the over 30 full and part-time employees of the Pasochoa Reserve (see Box 3.2).

Although not the unique focus of the organization's work, the involvement of the Quito Chapter of Fundación Natura in urban "green" issues has been extensive over the years. Since 1989 at least one full-time person has concentrated on these issues, including both volunteers from the U.S. Peace Corps, and numerous short-term contracted personnel for specific projects. In addition, the management of the Pasochoa Reserve was formally placed under the direction of the Chapter in 1991. In 1994 the Quito Chapter ceased receiving financial support from the national office of Fundación Natura, and has become self-sustaining through attracting new projects. and donations, selling publications, t-shirts, and greeting cards, and conducting other fund-raising activities. In the area of the urban forest ecosystem, the organization has been able to hire a coordinator to manage existing grant projects and all other matters related to urban green space and forestry projects in the metropolitan area.

The types of activities undertaken by the Chapter have included environmental education, public promotion campaigns, technical training, policy advocacy and watchdog functions, urban forestry planning, tree planting, and management of a protected forest area. In many of these activity areas, the organization has served an intermediary role rather than as a direct service provider, furnishing information, educational materials, technical assistance, training or consultation to local neighborhood associations, city government, private businesses and other groups.

The programmatic priorities of the Chapter have to some degree been determined by the vagaries of funding from both domestic and international sources. Many worthwhile projects related to the urban forest ecosystem have been developed by Fundación Natura staff and funding pursued without success. Others have taken years to finally receive the resources necessary to carry out action. In the area of urban vegetation, for example, there has been a decided bias on the part of international and national funding institutions for tangible projects involving the planting of trees, when at times this activity may be premature and/or inappropriate in the Quito context. Support has also been relatively easy to acquire from local businesses for tree planting as well as production of educational or promotional materials which provide some advertising benefit to the donor company. On the other hand, general advocacy activities, legal work, research on the urban forest, planning support, etc., all strong programmatic priorities identified by Chapter staff and Board of Directors, have received far less consistent funding and generally must be supported as part of the general overhead expenditures of the organization. The list of accomplishments of the Quito Chapter of Fundación Natura in the area of the urban forest ecosystem is lengthy, and much of the organization's work has already been referred to in other sections of this report. Some highlights of the types of projects in which the Chapter has been involved over the years appear in Box 4,2,

One of the major strengths of the organization has been its great power to generate and spread an alternative vision of a healthier and more sustainable urban environment to the general public. For much of the Quito population, Fundación Natura is indeed seen as an advocate and a defender of green space and trees in the city, and the organization devotes considerable time to responding to public concerns on various issues, and representing these concerns to public authorities or private businesses with the power to change outcomes. Because of its historically responsible fiscal and programmatic management, the Quito Chapter has also been able to attract significant support from the private sector of the city, especially those institutions who prefer to work with the private non-profit sector instead of directly with city government. Through its efforts, the organization has in fact developed strong partnerships with both the public and private sectors of the city, and in general maintains positive working relationships with a broad spectrum of Quito society. While Fundación Natura has certainly been known to take strong adversarial positions on urban green issues in apposition to government authorities or other powerful groups in the city, the organization is in general characterized by a cooperative posture and an openness to working with all affected parties to resolve conflicts concerning urban environmental quality.

Like all institutions, Fundación Natura has also experienced failures of some of its efforts in the area of the urban forest ecosystem. Tree planting campaigns have had very mixed results, stemming from the same problems that plague city officials involved in similar efforts, i.e., using plants that are too small, planting in inappropriate places, and not working enough with the community prior to planting. Also, efforts to promote public consciousness regarding care of urban trees, or work with city officials to encourage better planning for the future of the urban forest have only borne moderate results in the short-term (although even under the best of conditions these types of changes typically require many years of sustained effort).

Finally, the generally cooperative approach of the organization has led to critiques of the organization by more confrontational groups in the city, who charge that Fundación Natura is out of touch with the grassroots, emphasizes talk instead of action, and is too conciliatory in the face of authority. The largely middle and upper class constituency of the group has also come under attack. For example, the organization has been called elitist and anti-housing for the poor because of its staunch position against land invasions into the Pichincha Protected Forest on the western edge of the urbanized core (although the organization has in fact directed protests to upper class developments in these zones as well). Interestingly, in the last few years, as many of these same low-income neighborhoods have become more consolidated, even this relationship is evolving into a more positive one. Fundación Natura has now collaborated in a number of projects related to environmental quality and tree planting in the spontaneous settlements at the city edge, in close coordination with neighborhood leaders.

As the Quito Chapter of Fundación Natura looks to the future, it will certainly maintain and increase its already significant level of activity and advocacy on the part of the urban forest ecosystem of the capital city. The organization is consolidating its leadership position not merely within the metropolitan orbit of Quito, but is serving as a national model and an important institutional resource for other cities throughout the country who are becoming more interested in urban green issues.

Source: Fundación Natura, 1983-1995

BOX 4.4: Highlights of Activities of Fundación Natura, 1984-1995


· Bellavista Metropolitan Park: Fundación Natura spearheaded an almost ten year legal and public relations battle to defend the designation of this land as a public open space resource. The fight was finally won in 1992, when the Municipality constructed the first public works on park land, and the area was officially inaugurated as a Metropolitan Park.

· Public Denouncements: Fundación Natura has served as a citizen vigilance group, protesting any and all actions having a negative impact on open space, tree cover, or urban park areas in the metropolitan area, whether or not they are legally sanctioned by public authorities. The group has consistently denounced the encroachment of illegal spontaneous housing, as well as the official "legal exemptions" made for high-income developments located within the boundaries of the designated protected greenbelt of Quito. These interventions have met with mixed success, but a persistent watchdog attitude has certainly had some chilling effect on the pace of such activity. The organization has also successfully opposed further construction of public facilities in the existing Carolina Park within the urbanized core, and has frequently alerted public officials of illegal tree cutting activity in protected areas.

Technical Assistance

· Urban Forestry Planning: In addition to the direct assistance provided to city officials in developing a plan for Quito's urban forest, Fundación Natura developed the first general methodology to conduct urban forestry planning m the country, for diffusion locally as well as to cities throughout Ecuador.

· Metrópoli Housing Development: Fundación Natura worked with this private housing developer to develop a more environmentally sensitive landscape design, including the preservation of existing ravines and native vegetation on the building site. Due to financial constraints, the green space portion of the project is unfortunately not being implemented in full. However, this collaboration with the private development sector is the first effort of this kind in the country, and will hopefully pioneer the way for more such consultations in the future.

Training and Education

· Urban Forestry Training: The Chapter was responsible for the development of a self-guiding training package in basic management techniques for urban forestry, for use by municipal employees, educators and citizen groups in Quito and elsewhere in Ecuador. Fundación Natura has also conducted many technical training sessions on the urban forest ecosystem for groups of teachers, city workers and citizen leaders.

· Environmental Education: In addition to the production of didactic and promotional materials, extensive use of the mass media, and other outreach strategies, staff of Fundación Natura have given numerous educational presentations to children and adults in school, neighborhood groups and other venues throughout the city. They have also formally sponsored several school tree nursery and seed germinating projects.

Tree Planting

· Pasochoa Nursery: The nursery of the Pasochoa Reserve is one of the few native species-producing facilities in the Ecuadorian highlands with a primarily urban market base. With a monthly production averaging 5000 plants of all types, the nursery has also served an important environmental education function for numerous school group projects over the years.

· Planting Campaigns: Fundación Natura has sponsored tree planting campaigns with citizen neighborhood groups, schoolchildren, and employee groups of sponsoring businesses throughout the city. Although tree mortality has sometimes been high, success rates are being improved by better planning, a shift in focus to more private Spaces, as well as the planting of larger tree stock. The organization has also received support form local businesses for some very innovative campaigns to promote tree planting in the urban greenbelt. During the Christmas season, a local vendor of artificial Christmas trees (Sukasa) donates a portion of the proceeds of each sale for the planting of a replacement 'real' tree. Fundación Natura has also developed a programme supported by a local paper products Company to plant a tree in the name of a newbom child, complete with a certificate of adoption for each dedicated tree.

Source: Fundación Natura, 1983-1995

BOX 4.5: The Pasochoa Reserve: A Privately Managed Peri-Urban Protected Zone

A relict forest area located within a one hour drive of central Quito provides educational and recreational opportunities for urban dwellers, and is an example of how the concept of "ecotourism" is being applied in the urban context. The Pasochoa Reserve is a good example of private management of ecologically valuable public lands within easy travelling distance of an urban center. From an urban-based perspective, the project has been a clear success in financial, educational, and environmental terms, but may have had mixed outcomes for local livelihoods.

The vegetative cover of the great majority of the highland zone of Ecuador has been greatly transformed since the arrival of the Spanish colonists in the sixteenth century. Much of the existing forest cover was converted by early settlers to farmland and pastures, a process which continues to this day. Later, the planting of introduced tree species such as eucalyptus and Monterey pine continued the drastic alteration of the landscape and ecosystems of the zone. In some areas, however, particularly those with difficult access, steep slopes, or other characteristics impeding rapid development, the native vegetation of the area has remained relatively unaltered-One of these zones is the territory surrounding the Pasochoa volcano, among the last remaining relicts of Andean forest in the Province.

The Pasochoa Protected Forest is located in the rural parish of Uyumbicho, in the Mejia canton, 45 kilometers south and east of the urbanized core of Quito, and about eight kilometers from the rural metropolitan parish of Amaguaña, The area is technically situated just outside the boundaries of the formal jurisdiction of the Metropolitan District of Quito, but its current use is dominated by the urban-based citizenry of the capital city.

In 1978, the local environmental group Fundación Natura first proposed the establishment of a protected area in Pasochoa, and conducted a preliminary assessment of the zone. In 1982, the organization successfully acquired the legal designation of a 319 hectare parcel of the forest as a Protected Forest and Vegetation area by the national Ministry of Agriculture (Ministerial Accord No. 0360). This land had formed part of an ex-hacienda belonging to the national Ministry of Public Health. Under a 14 year trust agreement, the agency turned over administration, protection and management of the Pasochoa Protected Forest to Fundación Natura shortly after its declaration as a reserve. In 1984, the Ministry ceded an additional 25 hectares as part of the reserve, and in 1989, an extension of the lease was signed with Fundación Natura, which recently expired in 1996. The future management of the park was still in question at the time of publication, since some representatives of the Ecuadorian government have stated that the lease with Natura will not be renewed.

The area falls within three major Holdridge life zones, i.e., Low Moist Montane Forest, Montane Wet Forest and Subalpine Rain Páramo. The reserve has three dominant types of vegetative cover. Within the central caldera, there is a highly complex and diverse primary forest, including some rare and endangered native tree species, e.g., Ceroxilon sp. (Palma de Ramos), Podocarpus sp. (the only native conifer of north central Ecuador) and Polylepis reticulata. Exotic pasture grasses grow on the edges of the caldera and on the outer low slopes; while on the higher slopes (above 3000 m.) páramo vegetation dominates. More than 120 species of birds have been sighted in the reserve, as well as a high diversity of snakes, insects, mammals and marsupials. Current land use inside the Pasochoa Protected forest includes about 27% primary forest and 52% secondary forest growth. Surrounding the eastern border of the reserve, there is an additional 300 hectares of primary forest which is currently not included in any protected area.

The Pasochoa Reserve has proven to be one of the most popular natural areas in the country, and currently receives more than 30,000 visitors annually, 60% of whom are school children from within the Quito metropolitan area. An additional 38% are other Ecuadorian tourists (including adults from Quito), with about 2% of the visitors from other countries. Its enormous popularity among urban residents of all ages reflects the potential to achieve protection of a valuable forest resource close to a major metropolis, while taking advantage of economic development opportunities as well.

The environmental education and financial success of the reserve is due to more than the attraction of its natural features, and the staff of Fundación Natura has worked hard over the years to build an excellent programme of interpreted trails, guided walks, environmental education events and displays, overnight lodging and other facilities important to attract visitors. There is also a native tree nursery on site, which has a monthly production of 5000 plants. These plants are for sale to the public, as well as used in reforestation of the reserve area itself. Much of the initial financial support to build the existing infrastructure at Pasochoa was acquired through the support of local businesses, international donations, and fund-raising activities, although the reserve is currently self-sustaining.

The establishment of this pen-urban nature reserve, although successful overall, has not been without problems. As in other parks and protected areas throughout the country, land use conflicts involving some pre-existing residents of properties surrounding the park have consistently occurred. There are no human inhabitants residing within the park, but the land was traditionally used by local residents for many purposes. Much of the land neighbouring the Protected Forest is used as cattle pasture, and wandering cows still at times cause damage to vegetation and facilities inside the protected zone, leading to conflicts, at times acrimonious, with some area landowners. The woodlands of the Pasochoa volcano have also traditionally served as a source of firewood for residents of the neighbouring rural parishes. Hunting has been intense as well, especially for wild turkey, pumas, rabbits and goats. Further, local residents have entered the area to collect native palm leaves, epiphytes and mosses during Holy Week and Christmas. Although the extraction of flora and fauna still persists, these activities have diminished notably due to the protective measures taken by personnel of the reserve, with positive impacts on the State of the forest, but unmeasured (and potentially negative) outcomes for local household economies,

Partially in recognition of this need to incorporate local concerns for economic development, a significant priority for Fundación Natura has been the involvement of the area residents in the management of the forest and in sharing the benefits of ecotourism which accrue to the Pasochoa Reserve. The park provides some employment to local residents, for example, including three forest guards, seven guides, three restaurant personnel and one person staffing the gift shop, representing 44% of the permanent on-site staff of the reserve. Other temporary employment opportunities arise for projects such as road maintenance or facility construction. In addition to direct economic benefits to the community provided by these jobs, the training given to reserve staff has helped to raise ecological awareness among some local residents, who have now adopted preservationist values in their conception of the Pasochoa area, and in their desires for its future development.

Source: Bustamante, 1993; Bradley, 1989; Cobo, pers. Comm., 1996

Photo 4.5: NGO Fundación Nature citizen planting campaign on a major avenue median (financed with private sector dollars)

In addition to environmentally-oriented organizations, grassroots neighborhood associations in various sectors of the city have become more involved in recent years in urban forest ecosystem issues. In the spontaneous and generally low-income settlements at the edge of the urban core, the "environmentalist" agenda has in the past sometimes been viewed as antithetical to more immediate objectives of adequate housing and service provision for local residents. However, especially in more consolidated neighborhoods, attention is now being turned to more long-term quality-of-life issues, and several organizations are requesting outside assistance and organizing activities related to local environmental conditions, notably the Federación de Barrios del Noroccidente de Quito and several neighborhood groups in the southern part of Quito (Sáenz, pers. comm., 1995; Campos, pers. comm., 1996). It should be noted that most of these activities related to the urban forest ecosystem have been carried out in conjunction with Quito environmental NGOs, municipal agencies and/or international assistance organizations, and thus to some extent may bear the imprint of the priorities of these institutions, rather than those of the communities themselves.

In at least one other case, a vigorous effort was mounted by one local government employees housing cooperative against municipal efforts to expand urban green space. For over ten years, owners of housing lots in this cooperative politically and legally resisted a municipal mandate to create the metropolitan Bellavista Park, an action requiring the public acquisition of their property. Although the legal battle seems to have finally been definitively won by the Municipality, it serves to highlight the heterogeneous motivations behind community organization in the city, some of which may work counter to the health of the urban forest ecosystem.

In addition to groups born within particular neighborhoods, other Ecuadorian community development groups have entered the realm of urban environmental management. The Centro Andino de Acción Popular (CAAP), which has historically worked in rural agricultural areas in the northern Ecuadorian Sierra, has recently become affiliated with urban peripheral settlements at the Quito city edge to work on urban quality of life and health and sanitation issues. To date, these activities have not explicitly included actions related to urban vegetation.

Organizations focusing on women's issues in the city (e.g., CEPAM, CEPLAES) have also not had an active role in the management of the urban forest ecosystem to date. These groups are demonstrating a growing interest in the quality of the urban environment in recent years, however, especially as it relates to family health and sanitation issues, and certainly have great potential to become more active in promoting the positive benefits of urban plants in the lives of women and families.

Finally, it is important to recognize that environmental, community development and neighborhood association movements of Quito are all characterized by extreme dynamism, and the number of groups varies from year to year. This institutional fluidity is due to a number of factors including changes in priorities and financial support of international funding institutions, ideological and strategic rifts internal to organizations, and the evolving needs and priorities of locally-based citizen actors. It is impossible to predict how many of the existing groups will be functioning actively within five years, how many new groups may form, or what the focus of their activities will be.

· International Non-Governmental Organizations

International NGOs have been involved in management of the urban forest ecosystem only indirectly, through their support to both local public and private institutions. Beneficiaries of international private involvement have included the Municipality of Quito (e.g., Direction of Planning, Subdirection of Parks and Gardens), as well as most of the NGOs described above. The support of international institutions is important to the effectiveness and long-term viability of virtually all local NGOs working in this area. Among the private international organizations which have been involved are American Forests and Partners of the Americas, as well as various European and North American foundations and other organizations. These groups have supported urban tree planting and production, the publication of educational and promotional materials, and the development of a proposal on peri-urban fire protection programme. Recently, the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), an urban environmental organization which emerged out of the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development, has been actively supporting a grassroots project to restore damaged ravine areas in marginal neighborhoods in southern Quito.

Finally, other major international organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), CARE, Plan International, and Save the Children, have been large supporters of environmental work in the country, but are not currently active in the realm of urban forestry in Quito.

· Private Universities

There are several private universities in Quito (e.g., the Universidad Católica, the Universidad de San Francisco, the Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial and FLACSO), but none has been directly active in the area of urban forestry to date. The Catholic University (Pontifica Universidad Católica del Ecuador) has a recently formed Department of Architecture and Design, in which there has been interest in offering a specialization in urban landscape design.

· Private Businesses

During the administration of ex-Mayor Rodrigo Paz (1988-1992), a prominent and influential Ecuadorian businessman in his own right, a large amount of private money and in-kind goods were donated for civic ends in Quito, including resources directed towards the improvement of public green spaces. Unfortunately, no specific figures are available on how much support this has involved. Within the Subdirection of Parks, at least, the level of private aid has diminished somewhat under the current administration of Mayor Mahuad, although some resources are still available from the private sector. Among the businesses which have at some time given support to the Municipality are: Texaco, Banco de Pichincha, Coca-Cola, Güitig, AGA, Wesco, and countless other small and large enterprises.

Some private businesses in the country have been hesitant to donate funds directly to public coffers, and have preferred acting through local NGOs. Fundación Natura has been an important intermediary in this regard over the years. The organization has successfully attracted the support of dozens of local businesses to assist with tree planting and promotional campaigns related to urban forestry, independently and in conjunction with municipal authorities.

Photo 4.6: Private sponsor sign in an avenue roundabout garden (the sponsor is "Wesco" ,a local paint company)

· Unaffiliated Private Landowners

Not all the private actors influencing the urban forest ecosystem are associated with organized groups, and certainly a significant part of the patterns of land use, land tenure and land cover in the metropolitan area is the product of the rise and fluctuations of the private urban land market. Actions of private property owners which attempt to maximize economic and other benefits from their lands (and directly and indirectly affect vegetation) include: transfer of ownership, fragmentation of lots, installation of infrastructure, construction of housing or businesses, expansion of agricultural use, as well as outright speculative land dealing. Within individual properties, thousands of private decisions are also made regarding what kind, how much and where to plant vegetation. All these private decisions are shaped and coloured by the policy and economic environment of the Quito metropolitan area, and are influenced by the knowledge and cultural values of various sectors of the populations. While it is difficult to make generalizations about such a diverse public, it is easy to conclude that in sum, these actions have led to a net loss of vegetative cover relative to pre-settlement conditions, as well as a substantial change in the type of vegetation present. At the same time, public consciousness regarding the importance of urban vegetation has certainly risen in the last ten years, although how much of that awareness has translated into changed behavior vis a vis urban plants in Quito is an open question.

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