Places We Protect

Ecuadorian Amazon

Adrenaline-Fueled Conservation

A multimedia tour of Ecuador's highlands.


In the Ecuadorian Amazon, the Conservancy works to conserve important natural habitats in indigenous lands located in country’s northeast - a patchwork of indigenous territories and protected areas  that cover over 980,000 acres of Amazon rainforest.

To do this we collaborate with indigenous groups and partners to:

  • help them conserve and manage their lands;
  • empower them to confront environmental threats;
  • create opportunities to improve their well-being;
  • improve the technical and administrative capacity of indigenous organizations.
What we are doing

Since 1995, The Conservancy has worked with our partner Fundación Sobrevivencia Cofán to bolster the Cofán nation by strengthening their organization, the Ecuadorian Indigenous Federation for Cofán People (FEINCE).

Through FEINCE, the Conservancy has assisted the Cofán to obtain recognition of their ancestral territories and create protected areas adjacent to them, and improve community-based land management and patrolling.

  • Recognition of traditional lands. Of their one million acres of ancestral territory, the Cofán had legal title to only 35,000 acres until 2007 when, with the support of the Conservancy and partners, the Ecuadorian government recognized the Cofán title to an additional 75,000 acres. The Conservancy also backed FEINCE and the Cofán in their quest to create the 135,000-acre Cofán-Bermejo Ecological Reserve.
  • Model expands land management. Together with FEINCE and Ecuador’s Ministry of the Environment, we supported the Cofán to create and implement a model for managing their lands together with protected areas authorities. In this model, the Cofán apply their vision for sustainable land use to develop resource management plans and community-based monitoring and patrolling initiatives. They are working with other nearby indigenous and local communities to learn about this model and use it to manage their lands, too.
  • Cofán park rangers. With assistance from the Conservancy and donors, the Cofán established an indigenous park ranger program for community-based land patrolling and monitoring. The Cofán are replicating this program by training other  indigenous people in Ecuador, Peru and Colombia to be park guards.
  • Increased indigenous participation. We support the Cofán to dialogue with government, NGOs and others about pressing environmental issues that impact their lands, like the construction of hydroelectric dams and roads, and climate change.


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