National Geographic magazine illustrated the efforts of the Azuero Eco Foundation in its October 2018 issue (You can buy the magazine in Arrocha pharmacies and in other commercial establishments). As the short profile of the project and its President Ruth Metzel underlines, the Azuero Eco Foundation is striving to implement the vision of an ecological corridor and restored landscape in Azuero through community outreach. We working with local communities, listening to them to jointly plan restoration activities activities related to the conservation of local resources. Currently, the agricultural sector in Azuero is experiencing an exciting moment of transformation, where many producers in the area are aware that the extreme seasonality of the region and the reality of climate change necessitates innovation in land use techniques.
We aims to conserve the natural resources of the Azuero peninsula by hosting reforestation workshops and conversations about the strategic restoration of natural resources in the productive areas in the region to conserve our beautiful landscape, protect the biodiversity of species such as the Azuero spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi azuerensis) by connecting forest areas to create a biological corridor. This corridor serves to provide non-timber forest products to communities; increases water quality, protects watersheds, prevents erosion and flash floods, sequesters carbon.
Collaborations with National Geographic
To support our mission, the Azuero Eco Foundation has initiated two collaborations with the National Geographic Society to improve the management of natural resources in Azuero:
- Shortcuts for the restoration of the Tropical Dry Forest: Exploring the viability of active reforestation vs. natural regeneration: This project seeks to develop and foster new, efficient strategies to increase the habitat of the Azuero spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi azuerensis), to improve the resilience of local producers in the face of the effects of climate change and to improve ecosystem services by creating alternative and accessible Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) models for landowners who seek a less expensive way to restore their lands. It documents differences in the tree species and biomass between ANR and traditional reforestation sites, and encourages other institutions to implement low-cost reforestation strategies. As a member of Panama’s Alianza por el Millón, a public-private alliance established to achieve Panama’s Bonn Challenge Commitment, the Azuero Eco Foundation hopes to be able to share its acquired knowledge with this group of actors to multiply and accelerate the process of restoration at the national level.
- Eco-Artisans of Azuero: Artistic innovation and conservation of natural resources go hand in hand: This project creates innovative social networks and group activities to reconnect the artisans in Azuero with natural resources such as grains, fruits, seeds and natural coloring, which provide the base for some of the most passionate artisanal traditions in the region. We want to connect the artisans in Azuero with innovative and practical designs in the region to inspire them to reinvent, innovate, and re-conceptualize their own local, traditional art to bring joy, benefits and to regenerate the natural resources, which often form the backbone of these traditional cultures.
Are you interested in these topics?
If you are interested in getting to know more details, follow the link to access the article published in the October 2018 issue of the National Geographic. For both projects mentioned above, we invite all segments of the community to participate. In 2019, we will publish a call for two interns from universities in the region to participate in the first project and to explore river basin restoration strategies through active reforestation or natural regeneration, so follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) for news in the future. For the second project, we are looking for artists and regional artisans who wish to participate in this movement. If you are interested in being a part of these projects, please write us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us: (+507) 995-2995.