The National Strategy for the Development of Sustainable Forestry was established in 2000 with a new forest management model in Ecuador that emphasized the maintenance and restoration of environmental goods and services provided by forests to local communities and society in general, without losing sight of biodiversity conservation. In the new Ecuadorian Constitution (2008), forest ecosystems were declared as fragile ecosystems requiring special treatment along with páramos (high Andean grasslands), wetlands and mangroves. To implement the new constitutional mandates, it is essential to strengthen forest policy and the specific legal framework to generate a forestry culture in the country.
In the world context, the concern about climate change and its consequences has motivated the Ministry of the Environment of Ecuador to make a big effort over the last few years to generate basic information about forests that permits improved decision-making about forest conservation and sustainable forest management and begin financial processes under the REDD+ mechanism.
The forest governance model being implemented by the Ministry of the Environment focuses on five principal elements: (1) improve administrative efficiency and forestry control to increase the legal sale of forest products; (2) strengthen incentive systems for sustainable forest management and forest conservation; (3) generate information that facilitates decision-making in a timely fashion; (4) promote reforestation in both degraded and protected areas; and (5) implement research, training and outreach programs. All these elements are unified within a legal framework with other laws and public policies that encourage good forestry governance as well as ensure the provision of environmental goods and services, biodiversity conservation and a more equal distribution of economic benefits from forestry among small producers and other groups associated with forestry activities.