2000 Laureate, Environment
Ecuador, Born 1956
Destructive farming practices and the over-exploitation of timber have destroyed over 90 percent of Ecuador’s native forest, causing severe erosion and soil degradation. Determined to protect the remnants of indigenous forests, while at the same time improving living standards for rural people, Maria Eliza Manteca Oñate has established a nature reserve near her home village in the north of the country. She has also launched a successful education programme, whereby adults and children learn sustainable farming techniques at a model farm.
percentage of Ecuador's forest cover destroyed by practices such as slash-and-burn forest clearing
altitude, in metres, of Maria Eliza's planned second model farm at Santa Rosa
size, in hectares, of the Golondrinas Reserve, now a protected forest