Dr. Leila Sheldrick from Imperial College London (one of the investigators of the GCRF Sustainable Rainforest Communities Hub) visited Ecuador with Miss. Sara Adela Abad Guaman, a Ph.D. student in PI’s group who is funded by the Ecuadorian Government to develop a robotic solution to assist hillside farming. Ecuador has diverse ecosystems (15/12/17 – 23/12/17).
Not only does it have the Galapagos Island but also due to the Andean mountains, this country is divided in the Cost, Sierra, and Amazon regions. These ecosystems vary from dry forest, passing through the Andean forest (paramo), to rainforest, respectively.Nevertheless, the forest is disappearing due to farming, mining, oil extraction, and lack of a sustainable development of communities. The image below shows the deforestation level of many areas of the country.
The Ecuadorian government through institutions of Ecuador such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of the Environment, and Agrocalidad are eager to participate in this GCRF Sustainable Rainforest Communities Hub to decrease the deforestation. In this project, we are working with research partners from local universities such as the National University of Loja and the National Polytechnic School to solve these intractable problems.
Students from these universities play an important role in the development and technology transfer of this project.