TIERRA DEL VOLCAN’S COMPROMISE WITH SUSTEINABILITY
Our goal is to share and preserve one of the most beautiful places on our planet on the long term. We are a forward-looking enterprise committed to the preservation of the environment through creativity and a deep knowledge of the area we are rooted in. We believe in sustainability as a very efficient strategy to meet both human and environmental necessities.
We have been actively working since 1992 on the preservation of both cultural and natural environments, through a partnership with Fundacion Paramo, a non-profit organization that protects over 75,000 hectares (185.329 Acres) of private land in the territory adjacent to Cotopaxi National Park.
Each Hacienda has conservation programs running permanently through out the year and innovative itineraries to support those programs and raise our client’s consciousness about this particular and endangered ecosystem are now available . Programs that are sensitive to locals and that provide support for community, NGO, National Park or private initiatives.
Tierra del Volcán together with non-profit organisations such as Fundacion Paramo and The Nature Conservancy works actively to protect the ecosystem, monitor and control the area to prevent hunting and indiscriminate fishing, run reforestation projects using native species, the creation of private own land conservation areas, and train local inhabitants.
Creation of Privately Owned Conservation Areas
Hacienda El Tambo was declared to be a Protected Forest in 1992, which has reduced hunting in the area dramatically and aided in the growth of Andean animal populations.
Hacienda Santa Rita was declared a Private Ecological Reserve in 2002 under Tierra del Volcán management and protects the last remains of native forest on the South Eastern Slopes of Pasochoa Volcano.
We are proud to have been part of the Nature Conservancy’s Parks in Peril project, which seeks to join up areas of high biodiversity in Ecuador, creating conservation corridors, through coordinated work by the public sector and private conservation in Ecuador.
Sustainable Agricultural Practices
Hacienda El Porvenir has 1000 hectares. Some 20% of its land is given over to crop farming, 20% exclusively to the reforestation of native species to restore the natural habitat, and 60% to extensive grazing with low environmental impact, managing animal load capacities to contribute to the conservation of the paramos – in other words low numbers of cattle over a large area.
Habitat Restoration: Reforestation
Through Tierra del Volcán, over 600,000 native trees have been successfully planted on the northern slopes of Rumiñahui Volcano on the land of Hacienda El Porvenir. This project, which was started in 1998, aims to recover the high Andean habitat, protect water sources, contribute to carbon uptake, and educate both visitors and those visited on the importance of native woods. The species planted as part of this project include pumamaqui, polylepis, and hoja blanca, in areas where there used to high Andean forests.
Tierra de Volcan has programs with the schools located in the central area of the National Park of Cotopaxi: Loreto, Pedregal, Rumipamba, Güitig, and San Ramón. The goal is to support local schools by improving facilities and accessibility to technology (internet, libraries, and labs) along with the proper training needed for their use. We have also worked to educate the local communities on waste management, conservation, and the dangers of living near an active volcano.
Almost all the necessary products and food are bought at the local Machachi market, this reduces waste, carbon footprint, and benefits the local businesses. Tierra del Volcán is partnered many local businesses including transportation, tour guides, artisans and tourism businesses to economically support the communities surrounding the Haciendas. The food that you enjoy at Tierra del Volcán is bought locally from small producers and entrepreneurships of people from the surrounding communities.
The people of the Sector define themselves as Chagra. This classification is more than ethnic, it is a cultural characteristic linked to a way of life connected to the countryside, to the management of livestock and the breeding and use of horses. Tierra de Volcán is committed to supporting and maintaining local cultural ways, in revaluing the Chagra as a fundamental part of this Region and promoting the cultural manifestations through rodeos, lasso competitions, cattle drives, among others that perpetuate the ancestral traditions of the people of this sector.
Water consumption -Our policy of sustainably managing water resources means that we protect and refrain from contaminating water sources, and make sure that withdrawal rate does not exceed the natural replacement rate, and contamination of sources does not take place. We promote the use water consciously and responsibly through signs and information packets in the rooms. We use biodegradable products in all cleaning.
Heating- Our policy is to use only eucalyptus wood, which is a non-native, fast growing species. We have installed efficient stoves to improve performance and reduce consumption in certain areas. We also have electric heaters that are the most efficient on the market in the traditional rooms on the Hacienda. We promote the consciousness of energy use of our travellers and encourage them to wear more layers instead of using a large amount of energy to heat a space.
Energy- We use low- consumption lighting system in the great majority of the areas and rooms of the Hacienda as well as movement sensors that enables us to optimize the use of electric power in our operation.
We keep to a strict policy for reducing the impact of solid waste, evaluating the impact and offsetting it. We have purchasing and supply policies that help reduce waste at source, and encourage the sorting of waste into biodegradable, recyclable and non-recylcable.
The organic waste is used as compost, and the inorganic waste is collected by the Machachi Municipality, with whom we have worked with to resolve the problems of waste management in the whole area.
We promote the reduction of plastic by offering drinks in returnable glass containers, buying products in large, reusable containers, and being creative in looking for new ways to supply the necessities while being environmentally friendly. One example of this are aluminum glasses for tea while horseback riding.
The design and the materials of Hacienda El Porvenir and Hacienda El Tambo follow traditional and ecological building systems; the walls are made of “tapial” (compacted earth) at Hacienda El Porvenir and basaltic stone form Cotopaxi past eruptions, while the roofs are built of straw and eucalyptus wood. The farm houses revives the spirt and essence of the traditional Andean construction techniques that have been used for hundreds of years. We use natural organic paint. Both houses makes the most of the daylight in many of its social areas and keeps in a lot of warmth despite the cold surroundings.