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Community Conservation Agreements

Community-based conservation aims to involve and empower members of local communities in conservation efforts which affect them. Under the Socio Bosque program in Ecuador for example, incentive-based conservation agreements that include both environmental and socioeconomic targets are agreed to between the government and communities. 

Within the Socio Bosque program, the Sustainable Use and Mangrove Custody Agreements 

(Socio Manglar) empowers local communities to serve as custodians to protect mangrove ecosystems while gaining exclusive access to the sustainable extraction of profitable resources, such as red crabs and black cockles. 

Below are the key questions asked at the initial stages of implementing a community conservation agreement. For a step-by-step guide on how to set up conservation agreements, click here.

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What benefits do conservation agreements provide to communities?

Conservation agreements aim to promote community participation in the defense and conservation of the ecosystem and to maintain the traditional use of fish, mollusks and crustaceans by local communities. These agreements give ancestral communities and traditional users the exclusive use of mangrove resources for 10 years, in turn, they are requested to protect the ecosystem. Thereby, these agreements complement the national conservation strategies.

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What is 'Socio Manglar'?

This program provides a direct economic incentive to organizations that hold agreements for sustainable use and custody of mangroves. The amount of the incentive depends on the area of the concession and is aimed at strengthening local organizations through supporting the implementation of their mangrove management plans. The incentive is set up for 10 years, it supports the development of the following activities:

  • Control and Monitoring

  • Administrative Management and/or evaluation of management plans.Technical Assistance for the implementation, monitoring

  • Organizational strengthening.

  • Financing of productive and social projects, that benefit partners.

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What are the steps to designing and implementing a conservation agreement?

They aim to promote community participation in the defense and conservation of the ecosystem and to maintain the traditional use of fish, mollusks and crustaceans by local communities. These
agreements give ancestral communities and traditional users the exclusive use of mangrove resources for 10 years, in turn, they are requested to protect the ecosystem. Thereby, these
agreements complement the national conservation strategies.

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How do you monitor and manage the conservation
agreement?

There is a structured and formalized process for the management and implementation of the agreements. The steps and timeline are laid out in the custody agreement. The objective of the incentive is to support the partner in all aspects that may contribute to a successful execution of the management plans of the agreements. There is a biannual monitoring regarding the fulfillment of the investment plants and participants must report semiannually the progress of their fulfillment.

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How do you evaluate impacts from a 'Socio Manglar' agreement?

The incentive agreements have a duration equal to the conservation agreements. In the case of Ecuador that is 10 years. Impacts are evaluated both geographically and socioeconomically. The Ministry of the Environment develops on-site inspections at any time to verify the conservation of the mangrove and the data consigned in the declaration delivered by the participants, as well as to monitor compliance with the obligations signed in the conservation agreements.

In addition, the Ministry of Environment will carry out verifications through remote sensors and other available techniques, to verify the permanence of the vegetation cover and will maintain a cartographic database of the areas and will record the results of the monitoring.