Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest and lake
In 2008, the government of Ecuador launched the Socio Bosque Program, a national conservation agreement scheme based on incentive-driven voluntary actions to protect native forest areas and other types of native vegetation from deforestation. The program is implemented on the ground in six Ecuadorian provinces: Esmeraldas, Morona, Napo, Zamora Chinchipe, Santa Elena, and Pastaza. For each hectare of forest cover maintained, it offers annual payments to poor private and communal forest landowners. Capacity building activities support the implementation of the Program on the ground. This Program is particularly relevant as Ecuador has one of the highest deforestation rates in Latin America. Since 2000, Ecuador has lost 4.7% of its tree cover. Main reasons for this loss are expansion of agriculture, oil exploitation, logging, mining but also institutional factors such as insecure land tenure, and weak public institutions. Though primarily addressing rural areas, the combination of environmental protection and poverty alleviation goals is the distinctive feature of the Socio Bosque program and makes it a good example of a national incentive program to enhance multi-functional NBS.