Fundación Jocotoco is an Ecuadorian non-profit organisation, the mission of which is to protect the most threatened species and habitats outside the governmental system of protected areas in Ecuador.
Jocotoco was established in 1998, one year after its founders discovered a new bird species, the Jocotoco Antpitta (Grallaria ridgelyi); a discovery that strikingly illustrated the endangerment of localised species. The focus of the organisation has always been to achieve its mission through the establishment of strict conservation reserves for perpetuity, setting it apart from other national and international NGOs active in Ecuador.
Jocotoco has established and manages a network of 15 reserves totalling 23,500ha. Reserve size varies from 60-7000ha depending on the landscape context for each reserve. The reserve network affords protection for 60% of Ecuador’s bird species, the best studied taxonomic group. Being able to protect two thirds of the avifauna on 23,500ha testifies to the careful site selection of the reserves.
Habitat restoration has also been an important component of Jocotoco’s work. Jocotoco has planted >1,600,000 trees of ~130 native species, restoring 1,600 ha of forest throughout its reserves. This includes the restoration project at Tesoro Escondido, a wildlife reserve located in the province of Esmereldas, where Synchronicity Earth supports the restoration of degraded forest through the Regeneration Programme.
Recently Jocotoco has also turned their attention to amphibians, as studies have highlighted the rapid rate of amphibian extinctions in Ecuador, fuelled by habitat loss, disease and climate change. Synchronicity Earth’s Amphibian Programme is supporting a project run by Jocotoco and Tropical Herping to find, protect, and rescue some of the rarest species of amphibians that are Critically Endangered.