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Durinis Ecoforest 2000, Ecuador


Esmeraldas has the Ecuadorian main remainders of primary tropical rain forests. During the 1970s-1980s the logging industry spread widely over this area leading to an accelerated deforestation. The Esmeraldas case mirrored the world-wide trend of tropical forests at that time. In response to this situation, from international to national levels new forest management approaches were developed and implemented. Generally speaking, these reforms were modeled on voluntary self-regulation initiatives or on regulation though funding with aid programmes targeted to encourage technical and institutional change. Within this context, the Durini group, an Ecuadorian powerful private wood-processing group, submitted a new business proposal (Ecoforest 2000) to the Global Environment Facility (GEF). It consisted mainly in a plan of plantations and reforestation though the purchase of 3143ha of deforested land in Esmeraldas. As a part of the project, the consortium applied for a US$ 5 million loan from the IFC as well as US$ 2 million grant from the GEF. In light of this situation, Ecuadorian environmental NGOs lobbied the international aid community involved in the process arguing that the project would exclusively benefit the private logging group, increase the risk of colonization of indigenous land and lack sustainability. The GEF rejected the project.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Durinis Ecoforest 2000, Ecuador
State or province:Esmeraldas
Location of conflict:Esmeraldas
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific commodities:Cellulose
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Ecoforest 2000 was a US$12.8 million reforestation project, for which the Durini timber group solicited a US$5 million loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-finance arm of the World Bank, to: (1) purchase 3143 h of land that had been partially used for cattle ranching and agricultural production from farmers and poor colonists; (2) selectively reforest the degraded forest land with native timber species; and (3) cover part of the costs of developing 2975 h of previously established plantations.

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Project area:3143
Type of populationUrban
Start of the conflict:1991
Company names or state enterprises:Durini Group from Ecuador
Naturgy (Naturgy) from Spain
Enchapes Decorativos S.A. from Ecuador
Bosques tropicales S.A (BOTROSA) from Ecuador
Servicios y Trabajos Forestales (SETRAFOR) from Ecuador
Fundacion Forestal Juan Manuel Durini from Ecuador
Relevant government actors:The Ecuadorian National Institute for Forests, Nature and Wildlife
International and Finance InstitutionsCorporación financiera Internacional (CFI)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Bank Information Center, Accion Ecolgica, CIDESA, EcoCiencia, Fundeal
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Forms of mobilization:Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Project cancelled
Activists along with indigenous communities instead of this project promoted local alternative development projects in order to curtail their dependence on logging.
Proposal and development of alternatives:The main alternative activity promoted was agro-forest management projects.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The lobbying effort was successful and Ecoforest 2000 was rejected for IFC and GEF funding, and the World Bank asked an umbrella organization of NGOs to submit to INEFAN (the Ecuadorian government counterpart to the GEF funding) an alternative proposal for development and conservation in Esmeraldas, which became the 35th project funded by GEF in Ecuador. This latter initiative was aimed at developing a strategy for the buffer zone around the RECC (Reserva Ecologica Cotacachi-Cayapas), including 25 community management plans. As a part of this new initiative, US$ 350.000 were allocated to plan and developed sustainable management of AfroEcuadorian and Chachi community forests.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Forest Law

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Latorre, Sara. 2011. El pago de servicios ambientales por conservacin de la biodiversidad como instrumento para el desarrollo con identidad: caso La Gran Reserva Chachi, cantn Eloy Alfaro, provincia de Esmeraldas. Tesis. Matesra en Ciencias Sociales, mencin estudios socioambientales. Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO).Ecuador.

Robalino, G. (1997) Los Chachis del Encanto por la defensa de su bosque, in: A. Varea et al. (Eds) Ecologismo Ecuatorial. Conflictos Socioambientales y Movimiento Ecologista, Vol. 3 (Quito, Abya Yala), pp. 361400.

Meta information
Contributor:Sara Latorre
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:862
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