La Hesperia has hosted a number of independent researchers who come from various programs, and we are always open to receive more in order to enhance our understanding of various biotic and abiotic characteristics and processes of the cloud forest. Students of the School for International Training and the U.S. Fulbright Program have conducted independent research on topics ranging from diversity of hardwood tree species, to practices that increase organic coffee production, to population studies of White-Fronted Capuchin monkeys. La Hesperia also has an agreement with the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CULS) that consists of our receiving interns from the university who conduct research in agroforestry. La Hesperia also has an association with Deakin University of Australia, which sends students to the reserve for placements under the university’s professional practice unit.
The Universidad San Francisco de Quito, in collaboration with Cornell University, has two study sites within La Hesperia as part of a larger project called "EcuGuaycu" to determine how tropical and temperate streams’ hydrology and chemistry are affected by climate change. In addition to the data derived directly from the streams (e.g., water temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, etc.), atmospheric data are also recorded to correlate weather and climate-related phenomena with stream characteristics. Monitoring in La Hesperia began in 2015 and will continue for the next several years; there is no predetermined end date.
Seismic Activity Monitoring
We also have an agreement with the Department of Geophysics of the Political Technical School and the Institute of Investigation for Development. This study entails researching the variability of the subduction process and potential earthquake pathways next to the northern Andes. The object of the study is to monitor and map the seismic cycle pathways of subduction in the region. This project has funding for four years, and La Hesperia currently serves as and will continue to be one of the areas of study for the duration of the project.
International, National, and Private Affiliations
We are a part of the Sistema Nacional de Áreas Protegidas (National System of Protected Areas) and the Socio Bosque Program under the Ministerio del Ambiente (Ministry of the Environment). The reserve is also recognized as part of the Bosque Protector Toachi-Pilatón, a region that is nationally recognized for its ecological importance. Additionally, La Hesperia is located in the center of the Important Bird Area (IBA) Rio Toachi-Chiriboga designated by the Bird Life International and Conservation International.
We also form part of the Corporación Nacional de Bosques y Reservas Privadas del Ecuador (Corporation of National Forests and Private Reserves of Ecuador), the Asociación de Caficultores de Manuel Cornejo Astorga (The Association of Coffee Producers of Manuel Cornejo Astorga), and GOMejía (a group of organizations and businesses within the municipality of Mejía, in which La Hesperia is located, that specializes in eco-tourism).
All of these affiliations support our ability to implement and continue our sustainable practices and protect the forest that so many unique organisms—and that we ourselves—rely on.