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
NameDurinis Ecoforest 2000, Ecuador
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)Deforestation
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific Commodities
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsEcoforest 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.

The group also applied for a US$2 million grant from GEF to initiate a programme of silviculture, forest ecology research and community forestry extension, and an additional US$500 000 to contract independent international NGOs to monitor the social and environmental impact of the plantations until the first harvest projected for 2010.

Project Area (in hectares)3143
Type of PopulationUrban
Start Date1991
Company Names or State EnterprisesDurini Group from Ecuador
Endesa (Endesa) 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 actorsThe Ecuadorian National Institute for Forests, Nature and Wildlife
International and Financial InstitutionsCorporación financiera Internacional (CFI)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersBank Information Center, Accion Ecolgica, CIDESA, EcoCiencia, Fundeal
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment 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-economic 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
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseProject cancelled
Activists along with indigenous communities instead of this project promoted local alternative development projects in order to curtail their dependence on logging.
Development of AlternativesThe main alternative activity promoted was agro-forest management projects.
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.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 and Materials

Forest Law


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.

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.

Meta Information
ContributorSara Latorre
Last update08/04/2014