Photos of our trip. June, 2008.
We filmed our video in this Tumbesian region of southeast Ecuador .
red crowned parrot

The dry tropical forest of Ecuador is home to this wonderful Red-crowned Parrot (Amazona viridigenalis). Unfortunately its habitat is being destroyed. The Audubon Society lists this species as endangered.

Goat lady crying

Mrs. Aponte clings to a member our group, just after being interviewed for our video. Her goat pen can be seen in the background. We estimated that the owner of the land would earn perhaps $10 a year from the enlarged cornfield that is taking the place of this small corral.

Corn supply store

Nelson Alverez (manager of a corn growers association in the city of Macara ), decided to smile for this photo but he was not very happy. As he explained in our video interview, the method of corn production being used is polluting the land and water, and the food itself - and it is not sustainable. He also told us that farmers are using highly toxic chemicals with no protective clothing and it is causing health problems. The corn seed in the multicolored bag was made by Dow Chemical Company and is apparently a bioengineered variety. The country of origin for the chemicals is unknown. Notice the photo of Che Guevara on the wall in the background.

Chickens eating corn in Ecuador

In Ecuador, yellow corn is used to feed chickens. They don't produce ethanol. But we live in a world economy and 1/3 of the US corn crop is being used for ethanol in 2008, so there is a shortage of corn in Ecuador. That's why farmers in Ecuador are burning forests.

Cornfield invading forest

In a few years the ancient tropical forest in background will be completely gone to cornfields.

butterfly 89

This 89 butterfly (Genus: Diaethria) also comes in "88" and "80" variety, but no "90"s or "91"s. Even this biodiversity-hotspot has its limits!

La Cieba tree

The unique "La Ceiba tree" looses its leaves for nine months during the dry season and relies on the chlorophyll in its green bark to survive.

Corn drying in soccerfield

No soccer, only corn, for these people just outside the city of Macara. Each farmer typically plants a hectare of cornfield for which they are advanced a $500 kit of seed, herbicide, fertilizer, and insecticide. If all goes well they can sell their harvest for $1200 netting a $700 profit. But they encountered bad fortune this year when late rains ruined half their crop. Here they are desperately trying to dry their golden harvest to keep themselves out of debt. Next year they'll have to work harder and plant two hectares.

Burning tree to make room for cornfield

Farmers set small fires like this one to clear more land for next year's crop. In the past they often left some tall trees stand, but since cropland is so valuable now, they are killing this La Ceiba tree to provide another few square meters of cornfield.

Southeast Ecuador

This map shows location of intervews:
The first interview was at Location #1: Lastenia Correa Aponte and her goat pen in a tiny village on the border with Peru. The second interview was at Location #2: Mr. Bolivar, local resident, in front of La Ceiba tree. The third interview was at Location #3: Nelson Alberto Alverez, manager of a corn growers association, in front of corn supply distributor in city of Macara.