Managing biodiversity in Chimborazo’s páramos in Ecuador

14/02/2019 - 

“The project contributes to the economic and social development of communities, through the responsible use of natural raw materials.” Tarsicio Granizo, Minister of the Environment, Government of Ecuador.

The Chimborazo Natural Resources Management Project is a joint effort by the Chimborazo Provincial Council (CHPC), other national partners, FAO, and the GEF to support the conservation and sustainable management of the páramo ecosystem and its natural resources and the improvement of the livelihood situation of the local population. Ecuador is one of the world’s most biologically diverse countries, due to the extraordinary variety of ecosystems and species that co-exist in a relatively small territory.

While there are serious environmental problems in the country that contribute to the deterioration of natural ecosystems, the sustainable management of biodiversity and natural resources continues to be a strategic priority of Ecuador whose Constitution grants inalienable rights to nature. The Chimborazo project’s global environment objective is to conserve and manage the Chimborazo’s páramos and the biodiversity of the mountain ecosystems and to improve local livelihoods through improved sustainable natural resource management.

The project’s development objective is to re-establish and sustainably use the agrobiodiversity and the páramos ecosystems and to improve food sovereignty of the local indigenous population, who are dependent on Chimborazo’s mountain ecosystems, by applying modern watershed management approaches. For instance, blue grass, white clover, plantain and ray grass pastures saw both an increase in milk production and a reduction of around 40 percent in gas emissions in 2017.

The project is promoted by the Provincial Government of Chimborazo, and has worked with local communities to construct five watershed management plans, based on the communities’ knowledge and needs. These plans have a local committee that follow up project activities.

At the same time, the project contributes to strengthening the policy and regulatory framework for the integration and promotion of biodiversity in the goods and services markets. The project is part of the Provincial Government’s plan to adapt to and mitigate climate change. The plan came after a thorough environmental study that was conducted in the 10 cantons of the province between 2012 and 2015.

According to the study, the increase in temperature is also linked to the increase of droughts, concentrated and off-season rainfall, sudden frosts and other changes in the environment that influence agriculture.

Resource Partner: Global Environment Facility (GEF) and other co-financing partners

SDGs: 15; 13

Photo: Women walking in Ecuador, one of the world’s most biologically diverse countries ©FAO/GEF PROMAREN