The Fundation Puntos Verdes del Ecuador

The “Fundación Ecológica para la Protección de los Puntos Verde del Ecuador” (Ecological Foundation for the Protection of the Greens Areas of Ecuador), or in short called “Fundación Puntos Verde”, is a small, non-for-profit organisation, which provides nature protection and development assistance.

The Problem

The species-rich mountain forests in the western Andes of Ecuador are already approximately 90 % destroyed. Through excessive use (cattle raising, agriculture, and lumbering) the area is severely degraded and eroded. The impoverished population emigrates into other areas or further clears the forested lands.


With its work, the Foundation “Puntos Verdes” protects the remaining relict forests, restores degraded surfaces and thus improves the living conditions of the local population.


  • Protection of private relict forests as retreat areas for animals and the plant world.
  • Reforestation of degraded areas with domestic tree species (marketable, quick growing) from own nursery garden; erosion protection; saving of land; less primary forest is cleared for providing pastures; improvement of the health of cattle; improvement of soil quality through tree species with nitrogen-binding bacteria and mushrooms.
  • Better pastures, improved fodder quality; improved milk and meat quality
  • Improvement of income for local population: saving of operating funds, improved milking and slaughtering of cattle; sale of wood (previously trees were burned through slash-and-burn to obtain more land).
  • Containment of the deforestation of natural forests

Young trees are sold inexpensive to the farmers, who maintain these better than trees given as gifts, which are received and regarded as charity. On the other hand, farmers are even trained to make their own nursery gardens. Assistance through self-help!

Promotion of ecological agriculture on a family basis

  • mixed culture (fruit, vegetable)
  • slope-parallel cultivation (protects against landslides)
  • compost production -- otherwise organic waste thrown away is used as fertilis
  • ererosion protection
  • income improvement: fruit and vegetable sales, saving of operational funds

Co-ordination of the Garbage Disposal Programme of Mindo

Apart from the composting of organic garbage, Puntos Verdes co-ordinates garbage separation in Mindo.

Environmental education in theory and practice

  • information for the local population about the threats to their habitat (e.g. slash-and-burn)
  • presenting sustainable forms of management (farmers, lumber dealers, carpenters and their families) which canincrease income
  • beginning already with children (inclusive practice work: e.g. planting of school gardens, excursions)
  • influencing of decision-makers (politicians, teachers, etc.)
  • use the experience of older population

In order to be able to reach more people, an ecological-cultural centre (Centro Cultural Ecológica) was built, where interested guests can be accommodated or conferences and courses can be held.


Study of the ecosystems of tropical mountain wet forests and its biodiversity. Here it concerns the role of birds as pollinators and seed spreaders, particularly for important kinds of wood of economic importance. The research is fundamental for better understanding the functioning of a complex habitat. Furthermore, it can be shown how food chains, ecological fumigation, and relations in between animals and plants function and how important all organisms are for healthy survival of mankind.We co-operate together with the Catholic University in Ecuador and the Institute for Biodiversity - Network e.V. ibn. Volunteers who would like to co-operate in research or other areas, are cordially welcome. In connection to this work, we hope that the local population obtain a higher income on a long-term basis through ecological, sustainable management methods in order to stop migration from the land and the exploitation of nature.


It is possible to work as a volunteer in the different projects. More information can be found under  puntosverdes(at)



Naturally you can come to visit us in Ecuador also as a tourist on our Finca Mindo Lindo and be shown the local natural beauty by expert leaders.


Dr. Heike Brieschke de Peñafiel (Biologist from Bonn, Germany) and Pedro Peñafiel (Ecuadorian carpenter and environmental protectionist) carry out the primary work out at the base in the countryside, while the other members help to support us with contacts in the capital Quito and our partner organisations in other countries. Contrary to most organisations of Ecuador, which have expensive office space in the capital Quito, we have our seat in the countryside (approx. 90 km north-west from Quito in the north-western province Pichincha). Therefore better contact exists to the target groups, the farmers, their families, schools and the rural administrative authorities. We, Pedro and Heike, operate even a small farm (the Finca Mindo Lindo, 1650 meters above sea level), are thus entrusted with the problems and needs of the local population in the best way. Our Finca, which is managed according to ecological sustainable methods, serves as model for other farmers. Farmers and their families are effectively advised through practical hands-on experience. At present we co-operate with some farmers in the province Pichincha in the areas of cattle raising, lumbering, agriculture, and cultivation of fruit. Although there is primary interest expressed from farmers, up until now due to financial reasons they have not been taken care for.

Geographical Location

The region, where the Foundation is active, ranges in particular from coastal lowlands used for cultivation of fruit around La Independencia (300 meters above sea level; natural vegetation: Lowland rainforest) to the cattle raising and lumber region around Nanegalito (1500 meters above sea level; natural vegetation: wet forest) up to the agriculturally used areas around Calacalí (2450 meters above sea level; natural vegetation: Subpáramo). In these areas only parts of original forest formations exist, in which unsustainable conditions of lumbering are operated. These agricultural and cattle used areas are degraded by excessive use and erosion.


Financing relies mainly on membership dues, small private means and the free commitment of the members and partner organisations (VCP, Fascination Rainforest and the ibn). Without outside financial assistance could the successful work hardly be continued or even expanded upon. Therefore the Foundation is always dependent on support. So far we received some small subsidies from e.g. the German Embassy in Quito, the Hanns-Seidel Foundation, the Society for Tropical Ornithology and the German Ornithology Society. Even the smallest contributions can make a difference, e.g.:

  • 1, - EUR purchases 100 planting bags, used for planting trees in nursery gardens or needed for reforestation efforts.
  • 2, - EUR covers costs for a student on one day to learn practical environmental instruction.
  • 20, - EUR covers monthly gasoline costs for the scooter in order to be able to visit farmers and schools.
  • 50, - EUR covers costs for 1 role of barbed wire.
  • With 2 1/2 roles, it can protect 1 hectare of forested pasture from cattle grazing.

Each donation whether small or large, would make us very happy. To avoid unnecessary expensive bank charges for foreign transfers you can send us donations within Germany over the Institute for Biodiversity - Network e.V. ibn. The donations are passed on to us by the ibn directly without any costs.

Bank Details:      
Sparda Bank Regensburg-Germany   
BLZ: 750 905 00      
Account 452823      
Subject: “Puntos Verdes
IBAN: DE 16 7509 0500 0000 4528 23