Keywords: conservation strategies, Ecuador, human biodiversity, natural biodiversity, inclusive conservation, natural capital, socio-cultural capital, Otonga, sustainable development, sustainability, ethical management, local culture, environmental education, biosphere reserves, ethno-linguistic groups, environmental science
Conservation and new forms of action: Otonga, Ecuador
In this paper, a short analysis of historical and contemporary conservation practices is carried out as an introduction to the case study of the 'Bosque Integral Otonga' Biosphere Reserve in Ecuador. Otonga represents a unique experience within the global landscape of contemporary natural and human resources conservation strategies. Funded and directed by an Italian friar entomologist at the PUCE University in Quito, this innovative form of semi-private and highly ethical management has created a place that preserves, reforests and educates at multiple levels. Particularly, the deeply respectful exchange of experiences between the so-called official science and the local culture, which Otonga promotes, facilitates the environmental education and involvement of the national and international scientists, students and tourists, while it also implements and cherishes the local ethno-linguistic groups' conscious participation and socio-economic benefits. In spite of the several challenges in Otonga's future, due to the delicate equilibriums of the local, national and global situation, the reserve possesses and is developing many important perspectives for a significant expansion and export of this reserve model.