• Join
  •     |    
  • Login
  •     |    
Log in
Join

Sustainable Uses for Biological Resources (SUBIR) Project: Phase 1 Evaluation

By: Dennis Glick, Constance McCorkle, Alan Patterson, Raymond Victurine, Joshua Dickinson

Ecuador is among the most physically and biologically diverse countries in the world, made famous by the nineteenth-century writings of Darwin and von Humboldt. The SUBIR project encompasses an array of more than a dozen major ecosystems. The people who use the resources of the SUBIR project area are culturally and ethnically diverse as well. Of great concern to SUBIR are the competing and often destructive uses of fragile ecosystems in the project area. For millennia relatively stable populations have modified the landscape but have not markedly changed it. This relatively stable relation between peoples and the land is changing rapidly as the people of the area become aculturated and increase their market orientation, settlers from higher and dryer environments aggressively occupy and deforest lands little suited for agriculture and grazing, timber exploitation that devalues the forest by the highly selective removal of only a few valuable trees is followed by abandonment and invasion by settlers following logging roads, and petroleum exploration and exploitation contributes indirectly to deforestation by opening areas to deforestation.

The Project goal is to contribute to the conservation and management of Ecuador’s renewable natural resources for sustained economic development.  The Project purpose is to identify, test, and develop in the field ecologically and socially sustainable resource management models in selected protected areas and their buffer zones to preserve biodiversity and improve the economic well-being of local communities through their participation in the management of natural resources.

SUBIR’s goal and purpose are congruent with USAID/Ecuador’s Strategic Objective No. 4, to “Promote the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources, the Conservation of Biological Diversity, and the Control of Pollution.”  The evaluation has measured progress toward achieving the objectives set forth in the Project Paper and progress toward meeting Mission Strategic Objective No. 4.   Extensive recommendations are made to improve Project management and for more efficient use of Project resources to achieve technical objectives.

Various substantial results have been achieved and initiatives launched with a high probability of future success. The positive results must be analyzed, built upon, and further refined or stimulated.  Serious problems identified by the evaluation team must be rectified or well on the way to resolution before authorization to embark on Phase II of the SUBIR Project. Solving these problems will require a major investment of time and changes in SUBIR structure and operations.  This report examines these achievements and lackings, as well as including recommendations for future practice.