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Reforesting Northern Ecuador

Project summary

OneAction is supporting reforestation activities in the mountainous and biodiverse regions of Morochos and Pucará, Ecuador, to help restore natural ecosystems, protect biodiversity and create jobs for the local communities.

Our Partner

Logo CanopyCoFollowing an inspiring visit of CanopyCo’s reforestation work in 2012, OneAction decided to collaborate with this group to reforest abandoned farmlands in Northern Ecuador. CanopyCo was founded in 2008 and provides individuals and organisms with the possibility of voluntarily offsetting their carbon emissions by planting native trees that sequester carbon from the atmosphere.

Environmental Context

DSC_0886The northern Ecuadorian Highlands and the western slope of the Alto Chocó ecosystem, one of the ten most biodiverse in the world, are threatened by unsustainable land use. Across the landscapes visible from one of their five reforestation sites, in Morochos, it is noticeable that agriculture is working its way slowly up the mountains, leaching out the soil’s nutrients and leaving behind sandy, dusty soil that is devoid of nutrients. While the Morochos ecosystem, which overlooks the town of Otavalo, was once covered in rainforests, it is now arid due to widespread deforestation.

The Project

DSC_0925Having witnessed the devastating effects of deforestation and unsustainable agriculture in Morochos, such as climate desertification and extreme nutrient loss in soils, OneAction is committed to helping counter and prevent this trend by reforesting and restoring abandoned farmlands in the areas of Morochos, near Otavalo and Pucará, Intag. By partnering with CanopyCo, we are selecting trees for restoration that enrich soils and whose seeds can easily be dispersed by birds, thus multiplying the reforestation effect. By planting about 10,000 trees per year on five different plots representing 12.5 hectares in surface area, we are replenishing aquifers and creating biological corridors to protect the region’s wildlife.

With increased funds, CanopyCo would be able to not only reforest more degraded lands, but also provide more job stability for its tree nursery workers, and sensitize more regional farmers to the importance of forests in a healthy agricultural system.


DSC_0882OneAction is offering to any interested individual or organism the possibility to plant trees through CanopyCo by either selecting a number of trees to be planted, or offsetting carbon emissions of a specific activity, such as a plane flight. These carbon emissions and carbon offsetting rates are calculated by an independent third party. CanopyCo’s carbon calculating protocol accounts for plant mortality rates and ensures the full offsetting of carbon emissions.

For the time being, CanopyCo’s main clients include Ecuadorian travel companies, and visiting groups of tourists and students whose trips automatically include carbon offsets. In order to help CanopyCo become more financially autonomous, OneAction is actively seeking out partnership deals with more businesses. During this transitional period, we invite you to support the operational costs of reforestation, which include the daily care of the treelets, the collection of native seeds in nearby forests, the maintenance of the tree nurseries, and the tree planting activities themselves.

Smart Actions by Kids for Kids

DSC_0877Through our Smart Actions by Kids for Kids project, OneAction is raising awareness about CanopyCo’s reforestation work in Swiss schools. We are also developing a letter exchange programme between young students in Swiss schools and the 29 students, ages 5 to 12, from the school in the small village of Pucará, where CanopyCo reforests damaged lands.