Update for 2011

We have been off the radar for a while with a fairly chaotic transitional period, but we have continued the hard work in the meantime. After a very dry summer, we had a fairly wet rainy period, certainly more rainfall than usual but that has helped tremendously with our task of planting.

Since Stuart and Amy left Ecuador, Peter shear is now managing our planting activities and he has opened up a new area in Morochos where we are also co-funding a tree nursery with members of the community.

In Intag the pace of work has increased due to Pete’s new home being there and more tree nursery activity is in progress there with Finca la Fe playing an active role in our work.

So in the last 6 months we have planted a total of over 3500 trees, in cloud forest and higher Andean forest ecosystems with 2 communities with 12 different tree species planted; 4 cold climate species and the rest for the cloud forest:
Morochos: Pumamaqui, Arrayanes, Tilo, Aliso
Intag: Yaloman, Huyacan, Aliso (blanco), tura, Poroton, Sangre de drago, Capoli

We are also due to receive another sizeable donation from a key sponsor Globalworks who are continuing with the their Ecuador Service Learning programme. So a big thanks to them and more work for Pete!

That’s all for now; we hope to be in touch with increased frequency now things are back to normal and to update you with more details about each community project.

Thanks for your collaboration.


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Blog 9 – November 2009

On Saturday, after a few hiccups which we finally achieved our goal of planting a few native species to help with the global movement “350”. As the image demonstrates, and thousands like it all over the globe, 350ppm of carbon dioxide is deemed the safe level for humans to live on the planet as we know it.

Act now, and reduce your carbon footprint.

Our action for the day was to native Alisos, Acacias and Yaguales (local names) around a small plot being regenerated for organic agriculture at the Fundacion Brethren Y Unida. The soil is in a pretty bad state and so it took as a good while to get the holes dug, but with some careful maintenance over the next few months, and hopefully some rain, they will be flourishing come summer.

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Blog 8 – October 2009

This week-end there is an international movement to raise awareness and help push atmospheric carbon levels down a peg or two.

The initiative, devised by 350.org a group of Vermont students has been taken global, and for more details and ways as to how you can get involved please visit www.350.org

The 350 represents the suggested scientifically safe level for atmospheric carbon dioxide in parts per million, that will hopefully avoid many of the pitfalls expected with global warming. Current CO2 levels are at around 390ppm and with this sustained high concentration we can expect many changes to the planet as we know it.

This week-end, CanopyCo, with a small group of volunteers will be planting trees on an organic farm to increase the farms diversity, break the strong summer winds and provide useful habitat for the bugs and birds that help maintain a natural balance.

This will be the first of many plantings whereby we are identifying local organic farms that would benefit from the presence of the trees, yet whose economy cannot afford the costs.

This is just one other way donations for carbon offsets with CanopyCo are helping the environment and communities of Ecuador.

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Blog 7 – September

This month saw our first major contribution from an international company with Bupa, a British based health care company sending out a total of 120 staff volunteers to help build a new health center in a small community called Miraflores outside of Quito.

The volunteers have all raised money to fund the centre for the next 3 years whilst Bupa have paid for the construction and the costs of sending the volunteers. The project is being coordinated with the help of the Martha Estrella Foundation here in Ecuador.

CanopyCo will be able to plant a hectare of forest with the contribution, offsetting around 700 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

The first volunteers to visit the site helped with brick laying, mortar making and the like to get the first walls up, as well as some ad hoc teaching with the locals, but a lot more detail can be found on their blog at http://communityconnections.bupa.com/

Thanks again to Bupa for their contribution to CanopyCo and their even bigger contribution to Ecuador’s rural communities.


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Blog 6 – July 2009

A little later than hoped we recently returned to the reforestation sites and gathered new data as to the growth of our first trees that will have completed one year and 3 months in the ground at Peribuela.

Some interesting observations were made, not least that 100% of the Alisos measured last November (see previous blog) have survived another 8 or so months and well into the summer dry period in the community; fingers crossed they make it through their second summer. The average growth of the 30 tagged trees was 58cm with some growing 80 plus centimeters. The average height of the trees there is now 111cm, up from just 50cm back in November. The overall mortality rate based on the sample size of 40 is just over 25% (9 dead); much better than expected.

In the graph, the light green represents their original size one month after planting back in April 2008, the forest green represents the trees new height in November 2008 and the dark green represents the new height as of last week. All the trees indicated as less than 40cm had died by November, with just 2 new additions this time round, the remaining tagged Rosa trees.

So now all the experimental Rosa trees have died and unfortunately the more recently experimental planting of Arrayans, look like they may follow a similar route. These observations further support our mechanism for establishing a quick growing shade canopy using the Alisos with a view to planting other more sensitive native species afterwards, once soil is improved and shade provided.

As always, we would like to thank our supporters for their help and funding.

The CanopyCo Team

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Blog 5 – May 2009

I thought the below link would be of interest to those following CanopyCo’s activities; an interesting theory that again, repeats the need to reduce our CO2 emissions, this time to prevent levels of atmospheric CO2 passing a critical 3.7 trillion tonnes.

Therefore, we must globally reduce our future emissions, but by planting trees we can at least absorb some of the current atmospheric CO2. Go on, get your hands dirty!


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Blog 4 – April 2009

With the dry season closing in (if weather patterns are to be trusted, in June) we have planted for the final time until the steady rains begin again in October. In February we planted 610 trees with the help of the old faithful in Peribuela community plus a few German volunteers that are here on long stay volunteer placements.

At the beginning of April, we planted a further 930 trees, bringing the total for 2009 to 2572 in Peribuela, plus 100 trees on some private land, old cow pasture destined for reforesting in Pucara, Intag.

The majority of the trees planted are still Aliso Blanco (Alnus acuminata), but we have also now planted Pumamaqui (Oreopanax sp), Arrayán (Myrcianthes sp.) and Cedro (Cedrela montana), all native to the area.

On the next few weeks we shall be taking our third series of measurements to check the growth and progress of the trees planted. The first month is a critical period so we expect to have an idea of survival rates by mid May.

Last year we and some of our client base were interviewed by a free lance internet journalist, Jenny Moore, and for those interested you can read and hear her broadcast concerning reforestation initiatives and climate change at the following link;


Once we have our latest measurements, we shall be back in touch. As always, thanks to all of you who have helped and supported CanopyCo.

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Blog 3 – January 2009

The first 1000 of 2009

CanopyCo are pleased to announce that we planted our first 1000 trees of 2009 in the community of Peribuela.

The community was joined by a group of Outreach volunteers (a UK based organization), that will be joining a variety of volunteer projects during their Gap year in Ecuador. Between the 20 volunteers and 30 or so community members we made light work of planting Aliso (Alnus jorullensis), and also a few Pumamaquis (Oreopanax ecuadorensis) and Cedro Andino’s (Cedrela montana).

The Aliso’s are being planted as a pioneer specie, and we are testing the waters with Pumamaqui’s and Cedros at this early stage of forest development. The Pumamaqui’s are one of the first species to grow from scrub land close to forests (birds defecate their seeds which sprout from the shade of bushes such as Chilca), but they require shaded conditions in the first year or two of life; we have tried to imitate this process by planting in predominantly shaded areas at the base of the already present scrub.

The trees were purchased from a local Ecuadorian NGO called Fundación Brethren Y Unida (www.fbu.com.ec) and transported to the site. We lucked out with the weather and after planting, enjoyed a walk through the existing remnants of native forest we are trying to replicate, followed by a swim under a waterfall in the afternoon sun!

An important aside is that the volunteers stayed in the Peribuela Hacienda, a restored century old building that is being run by the community following the combined development achievements of CASA Interam (www.casainteram.org) and Chasqui Treks (www.intichakinan.com). The project is now being managed by families within the community as an alternative income to their farming activities, which combined with the reforestation, is making the community an attractive off-the-beaten-track visitor site for those travelling in Ecuador.

We hope to be out there again in February with another 1000 trees, the first production to come out of the Peribuela tree nursery.

Thanks again for your continued support for the project.


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Blog 2 – November 2008

Dear Sponsors

8 months on from our primary tree planning day in Peribuela in March 2008 we have returned for our second round of data collection.

On our first return in April, the area being monitored (the larger of the 3 sites we have started work on), had suffered few initial casualties, just 6 sighted deaths from the 400 trees planted (1.5%).

We then took a sample size of 46 trees to be monitored on a regular (6 monthly) basis.

The November measurements reveal the difficulties faced by saplings during the summer months, despite this summer being relatively moist in comparison with previous years.

Of the 400 planted we sighted 30 dead trees, a mortality rate now of 7.5%, which is still very good. Of our monitored trees however 28% were now dead, a higher number due to 2 reasons;

  1. 4 of the 13 dead were one tree variety called Rosa, demonstrating they are not hardy enough to plant at this stage of the forest development, leaving 31 of the 40 Alisos measured alive, ie 77.5%.
  2. we have concluded the trees we are measuring are in slightly more open spots (they were more eye catching during tagging), and hence also the more likely to suffer (less shade and therefore ground moisture), giving us the worst case scenario, rather than best case.

Overall we are happy with the progress, as all the survivors with one exception are looking healthy and strong (the exception is #36 on the graph, the negative growth tree as it died back and re-sprouted). During 6 more months of winter rains it is expected they will all be on the 1metre mark, and begin to poke their heads above the scrub and starting to change the landscape.

The next steps

We are continuing to support the Peribuela tree nursery and it is hoped it will grow steadily into 2009. We have our next big reforestation day in January when we expect to plant another 1000 trees. In March another 1000 trees are planned.

We are also planning to plant trees on some unused private land that may later develop into small ecotourism projects with the collaboration of the owners.

And talks are in progress to plant some Alisos for agro forestry purposes in a new community local to our home.

So, 2009 promises to keep us nice and busy.

Thanks again for your support, past present and future, and don’t forget to clean up your carbon!

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Blog 1 – November, 2008

Year Anniversary

CanopyCo was formed on the 12th November 2007, so it seems only right to have our first retrospective, be it short.

During the first year we have found 8 excellent, and hopefully permanent sponsors who in their own ways help us get more trees in the ground, as well as many individuals who have helped us with the hard earned cash.

We have several reforestation sites available for us to work on as and when the time is right, and our primary focus remains the Peribuela native forest and tree nursery development project we have under way.

The Peribuela tree nursery is taken shape, though slower than we had hoped. We have several species planted, including Alisos, Pumamaqui, Palo Blanco, Facuna, Laga and Arrayan and we are trying our luck with the Huatze tree also (as yet not known to have been re-produced in a tree nursery). We are aiming for 3000 trees to be planted in the Peribuela scrub before end March, hopefully all from the tree nursery.

We have made a few site visits over the 7 months since we planted our first trees and all looks good – in the main part the trees are healthy and growing, what more could we ask for? This next week we will be taking some data from the monitored trees that we have tagged to get a feel for the progress being made. Watch this space for details.

So, again we extend our heartfelt thanks to all those that are contributing to our work.

The team at CanopyCo

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