Community Agroforestry 2017-10-05T22:56:02+00:00


Western Ecuador remained only sparsely inhabited until four generations ago. Before that time, the region’s forest was mostly intact. In the 1950’s, colonization of this sparsely uninhabited frontier was encouraged by the national government, which heavily promoted the expansion of cattle ranching and agricultural activities. The process of over-exploitation generally follows a three-step pattern: illegal logging first degrades the forest and facilitates access; degraded forest on the fringe is then slashed-and-burned to grow corn; then cattle are grazed for a few years until the soil is exhausted and the land is abandoned, and the next tract of forest is cleared. Fast forward 60 years and we see that a vast majority of deforestation in western Ecuador is a direct result of this uncontrolled and unsustainable expansion of agriculture.
The region immediately surrounding the Jama-Coaque Reserve is a microcosm of this greater problem – small farmers laid claim to patches of land and slowly began chipping away at the forested parcels following the exploitation process mentioned above. It is for this exact reason that Third Millennium Alliance believes that a holistic approach to conservation, ‘one that focuses not only on the forests, but also on the land and people between the islands of protected forest‘ (Breakfast of Biodiversity 1995), is the most effective strategy. Working in parallel with our conservation land purchase program, our Community Agroforestry Initiative aims to engage local farmers and land owners in sustainable land management techniques such as agroforestry as a way to protect remaining forests and restore the degraded landscape matrix surrounding the Jama-Coaque Reserve.


  • Engage local farmers and land owners in more sustainable land management techniques such as agroforestry
  • Develop a community agroforestry nursery for the local production of native tree seedlings and desired agroforestry species such as cacao, plantain, banana, coffee, pinon, citrus, and bamboo
  • Offer educational agroforestry workshops to local farmers and landowners on topics relating to sustainable farming, crop management, product develop, and market strategy
  • Collaborate with local farmers and landowners to increase production on existing farmland as a way to remove pressure from forest
  • Develop a dynamic agroforestry demonstration site on Third Millennium Alliance property that can be used to educate local farmers and landowners via hands-on practical lessons
  • Teach methods of landscape restoration and watershed care via field-based experiments


In June 2017, with support from generous donors and organizational partners, Third Millennium Alliance opened the Community Agroecology Research & Education Center – C.A.R.E. Center. The C.A.R.E. Center has the following primary objectives:
  • Act as a central hub for supporting and engaging local farmers and landowners in more sustainable land management techniques such as agroforestry
  • Facilitate research and learning opportunities in the fields of agroforestry, agroecology, sustainable forestry, reforestation, and landscape restoration for local communities, research institutions, local and international students, and organizational partners
  • Act as research facility that allows Third Millennium Alliance and partners to collect important agroecological data that can be used to support and inform the conservation mission of the organization
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