There are a range of preparatory REDD+ activities underway in Ecuador, ranging from national level programs to those at the project level. Ecuador has been a member of the UN-REDD programme since Oct 2009 and in March 2011 - upon acceptance of its National Joint Program (NJP) - Ecuador joined the group of twelve pilot countries under the UN-REDD programme that are implementing REDD activities. These activities include an initiative to ensure multiple benefits for REDD+ implementation, and the development of a legal, financial and institutional framework for REDD+.
In addition to the activities carried out under the UN-REDD programme, the government of Ecuador is implementing two further national-level forest programs that will contribute towards REDD. The Socio Bosque Program (SBP) is an incentive-based program for forest conservation, coordinated by the MAE, which has been running in Ecuador since September 2008. Under SBP owners of land receive economic incentives to guarantee the permanence of native forests over the medium- to long-term. All legal landowners can participate in the program but priority is given to areas with rapidly changing land use and forest cover (i.e., high rates of deforestation), areas that are critical for the maintenance of ecosystem services that provide benefits for society and areas with a high incidence of poverty. PROFORESTAL is a national reforestation program, created in 2008, to establish industrial ad communal plantations and agroforestry systems with the twin objectives of protecting native forests and generating jobs in the rural sector. Under PROFORESTAL indigenous groups, local communities and private property owners signs agreements with PROFORESTAL who then provide up-front capital including labour costs and technical assistance to establish the plantation. Following timber harvests, landowners must then return a percentage of their income from timber sales to PROFORESTAL. Some difficulties and limitations have been highlighted within this program including uncertainty and conflict in land ownership, gaps in technical know-how, and a lack of coordination among government institutions (Zambrano-Barragán 2010, in Lawson et al. 2011).
A number of subnational activities are also underway in Ecuador and are at various stages of development. These activities are predominantly pilot projects led by national or international civil society organisations and the private sector. The most developed of these are the Awacachi and Orellana projects that aim to protect community forests that are threatened by land use change.
LAWSON, J. ET AL. 2011. Proceso de Preparación Para REDD-plus en Ecuador. The Forests Dialogue (TFD) Yale University. Available: www.theforestsdialogue.org