Maria Eliza Manteca Oñate

2000 Laureate, Environment
Ecuador, Born 1956

Project Goal

Promote sustainable farming in the Andes

Location: Ecuador

"I set myself the target of finding a way to earn money so that I could return to my village to work with the local people and find ways of improving their economic situation."

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

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