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UNESCO Recognizes Ecuador’s El Cajas Massif

Ecuador Cajas National Park © Tropic Journeys In Nature

Ecuador’s award-winning ecotourism company, Tropic Journeys in Nature, since 1994 has led tours through the country’s most engaging landscapes that includes El Cajas massif that in late May 2013 was added to UNESCO’s 12 newly designated International Biospheres for its ecological importance in the conservation and protection of biodiversity. The 12 new regions join 621 existing biospheres in 117 countries.

“It is gratifying when a prestigious organization like UNESCO recognizes what we’ve known for years, and that’s the importance of this region,” notes Jascivan Carvalho, owner of Tropic Journeys in Nature LLC (http://www.destinationecuador.com/). His company’s guided one-day walking tours of El Cajas National Park are among its most popular programs. http://www.destinationecuador.com/ecuador-tour-cuenca.html

The El Cajas massif zone includes 232 lakes scattered through some one million hectares in four provinces (Azuay, Cañar, Guayas and El Oro) and such protected areas as Cajas National Park, the national protection and recreation Quimsacocha and coastal area. Eco systems range from marine-coastal to tropical rainforest forest harboring multiple species of flora and fauna. The massif is also a major source of water for the population of Cuenca. See: http://especiales.elcomercio.com/2013/05/fotogaleria_cajas/#

The new biosphere brings to four biosphere reserves already designated in Ecuador: Podocarpus – El Condor, Yasuni, Sumaco and Galapagos Islands.

According to the UNESCO press release, “The International Coordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), which met in Paris from 27 to 30 May, has added 12 sites to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves … Biosphere Reserves are sites chosen by the MAB Programme to experiment with different approaches to the management of terrestrial, marine and coastal resources as well as fresh water. They also serve as in situ laboratories for sustainable development.”

On tours conducted by Carvalho’s company, guests visit the most spectacular natural areas of the country in the company of its native peoples, practicing the philosophy that one of the best ways of conserving an area – whether it be the Ecuador Amazon, the Galapagos Islands, the paramos of the Andes highlands or a cloud forest – is to engage the help of native, local people in creating the magic of an eco-vacation. Locals’ vested interest in travelers’ experiences assists the goal of preserving their culture and landscape. Programs combine life-changing, active-but-cultural ecotourism experiences focusing on nature, conservation, diversity and sustainability.

Carvalho launched his company to demonstrate that environmentally sustainable and culturally sensitive tourism can be a viable business model.  Tropic pioneered indigenous community tourism in the Amazon region with the Huaorani people and over many years has been a consistent supporter, partner and promoter of indigenous tourism initiatives with several indigenous communities and organizations including the Siecoya, Cofan, Siona, Achuar and Quichua.

The company also integrates tourism with ecological, economic, socio-cultural and political concerns with local community tourism initiatives in the Galapagos Islands, the Andean region and the Pacific coast region of Ecuador.  The communities it works with receive proper economic benefit from the tourism operation and these and other benefits are pointed out to clients.

About Tropic Journeys in Nature
Established in 1994, Tropic is an award–winning ecotourism company specializing in responsible, community-based tourism in Ecuador. Programs combine life-changing, active-but-cultural ecotourism experiences focusing on nature, conservation, diversity and sustainability in three distinct areas: