People Allied for Nature (PAN) is a 501(c)(3) organization, founded in 1994, whose mission is to help local communities in developing nations safeguard their environment by establishing wildlife and nature reserves. Towards that end, we employ an innovative strategy predicated on the active cooperation of the people whose standard of living depends on the exploitation of the areas we seek to protect. Our aim is to encourage conservation by addressing the socio-economic causes of deforestation at the grass roots level.



Fog Forest Stream



Having identified the remnant forests of western Ecuador as one of the world's most threatened ecosystems, we approached the people of Loma Alta, a small indigenous rural community nestled in the Chongon - Colonche mountain range, with a view to preserving the unique pre - montane fog forest that still existed on their land. 

By 1996, we had completed a creative mix of related projects.  A submersible pump donated by Goulds Pumps, Inc. was installed to provide running water for one of the community's four settlements. An environmental education program had been put in place. Participatory scientific research studies, funded by the Earthwatch Institute, had been undertaken in such diverse fields as sociology (using IFRI methodology), botany and fog capture.  Our objective was to demonstrate to the community that their water supply, and hence their economic survival, was directly linked to and dependent upon the health of the fog forest.


Our hard work was rewarded when the villagers voted to set aside more than 1,500 acres of their forest for future generations and establish the very first Communal Ecological Reserve in western Ecuador.  Since then, PAN's varied accomplishments at Loma Alta have included the following:


·         Establishing a tagua crafts workshop to provide an alternate source of income for villagers who had agreed to cease exploitation of the forest.


·         Identifying and compiling a list of the over 200 species of birds that inhabit the Ecological Reserve.


·         Mediating a land dispute between the community and an invading cattleman.


·         Sponsoring an operation that helped a crippled child walk again.


·         Providing assistant teachers and school materials to the community's elementary  schools.




                                         Environmental Education Class


·         Subsidizing and equipping forest rangers to protect the integrity of the Ecological Reserve.


·         Reforesting over five acres of degraded pasture land.


·         Initiating, in association with the Watershed Monitoring of Lakes and Streams program established in the State of Michigan by Mr. Randy Cook, a project to test and monitor the water quality of Loma Alta’s Valdivia River



                   Loma Alta students measuring river temperature.


The result has been an enduring relationship with the local people based on mutual trust, respect and affection.  Today, the Loma Alta Ecological Reserve consists of 7,500 protected acres, an area representing over 40% of the community’s land!



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