Postcard from high in the Andes Cordillera of southern Ecuador, three degrees south of the equator: “The stakes are high for conservation, indigenous peoples, and sustainable development in this small but oil- and mineral-rich Andean country....And, restoration is starting to hit the scene.”
James Aronson, series editor of the Science and Practice of Ecological Restoration book series is traveling with colleagues from the Missouri Botanical Garden to set up long-term research, training, and demonstration projects in ecological restoration and restoring natural capital. James goes on to say, “There’s a very promising conjunction of a new government, conservation and eco-activist organizations, and indigenous communities in Ecuador right now that makes it seem the best possible place for us to work.”
On Saturday, Andy Clewell will join James in Gualceo to give a workshop to community members. Andy and James co-authored Ecological Restoration: Principles, Values, and Structure of an Emerging Profession, a foundation volume in the SER book series, which has been a sought-after guide for people just beginning to practice this exciting work.
Andy and James are also founders of the RNC Alliance, an international network of individuals and organizations that offer locally appropriate solutions to resolve environmental and economic development problems simultaneously.
As I’m sure James and Andy will illustrate next weekend, well-planned projects in restoring natural capital offer multiple benefits: not only jobs now for people who need work but also repair of environmental damage for a healthy and more prosperous future.
For example, the Working for Water Project (WfW) in South Africa, one of nineteen case studies in Restoring Natural Capital: Science, Business, and Practice, edited by James Aronson, Suzanne J. Milton, and James N. Blignaut, is a government-sponsored program to remove invasive trees and shrubs that pose a direct threat to biodiversity and water security. Since 1995, WfW has cleared more than one million hectares of invasive plants and provided training and employment for more than twenty thousand people from among the most impoverished communities of the country.
If you would like to sample these books and thirteen others, click here for a free download of the SER Restoration Reader.