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Reflect the strategic role of ecosystems and biodiversity
in the Change of the Productive and Energy Matrix of Ecuador

CocaCodSinclair_New© Victoria Chávez / Vicepresidencia de la República de Ecuador

Country Overview


With the most biodiversity per square kilometer of any nation, Ecuador is one of the world’s seventeen megadiverse countries. Its extraordinary geography encompasses the Andes Mountains, the Amazon rainforest, the Galapagos Islands, the most important watershed of the South American west coast, and a marine zone driven by productive marine currents. Ecuador’s ecosystems are home to 18% of the world´s bird species and orchids, 10% of the world´s amphibians, and 8% of the world´s mammals, many of them endemic to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

These rich and diverse natural resources are recognized in Ecuador’s National Development Plan 2013-2017 (Plan of “Good Living”), which states that the government has the responsibility to defend the population’s right to a healthy environment. The Plan outlines a transformation process for the country’s productive and energy matrix. The change of productive matrix represents a paradigm shift from an economy based on the extraction of non-renewable resources and the export of primary commodities towards a diversified economy based on added-value products, technology, human capital, and ecosystem services. The change of energy matrix focuses primarily on the substitution of fossil fuels with hydropower. These transformations are aligned with the Ecuadorian constitution, which recognizes legally enforceable Rights of Nature.


Project Overview

The TEEB Ecuador project helps policy makers see how investing in natural capital supports the transformation of the country’s productive and energy matrix. Through participative scenario analysis at the landscape level, TEEB assesses the impacts of different incentive programmes and land use decisions on ecosystem services and biodiversity. In the Coca watershed, the project focuses on incentive programmes for ecosystem restoration, conservation, and sustainable use, and particularly on the benefits of the Socio Bosque program. Analysis in the Guayas watershed focuses on mainstreaming biodiversity conservation and sustainable use into agricultural landscapes, with a particular focus on smallholder farming.



In the Coca watershed, TEEB analyzes the changes in ecosystem service provisioning under various scenarios of incentive programmes for ecosystem restoration, conservation and sustainable use. The country’s largest hydropower project is under development in this watershed (1,500 MW). TEEB will demonstrate the project’s dependence on ecosystem services, particularly hydrological services, and interrogate the economic tools that could be applied to maintain adequate water quantity and quality in the watershed, including the emblematic Socio Bosque initiative. Although the assessment focuses on one watershed, the TEEB study will inform national policy, as Socio Bosque is a nationwide program and land use change is a nationwide threat. Policy appraisal will be aligned with principles of the Ecuadorian constitution, including: the right to water, the rights of nature, and the importance of pursuing energy sovereignty without compromising food sovereignty.

In the Guayas watershed, TEEB examines the impacts of different growth scenarios, focusing on the sectors that are prioritized in the change of productive matrix and including a case study on cacao. Guayas is the most significant watershed in Ecuador and provides the right to water and food sovereignty for many Ecuadorians. New multi-use infrastructure projects, including irrigation, flood control, and hydropower generation projects, have the potential to increase agriculture productivity in the watershed. As part of its scenario analysis, the TEEB study incorporates the value of sustainable smallholder agro-ecosystems into land-use planning and demonstrates the change of ecosystem services under different scenarios. The analysis will be aligned with the National Plan of ‘Good Living’ and will incorporate the proposals of Ecuador’s National Climate Change Strategy and the National Biodiversity Strategy 2015-2020.


Ecosystem Services Focus

During a scoping workshop, participants identified some of the services that may be valued as part of TEEB Ecuador, including provisioning of food, fresh water, regulation of soil erosion and soil fertility. Examples of these services are below.

For the Guayas watershed:

food Provision of food (livelihood products): The study examines changes in agriculture production by comparing business as usual with alternative scenarios. Provision of food will be measured in terms of yield (mean and variance) and household resilience (qualitative analysis of food availability, access, diversity and stability).

For the Coca watershed:

fresh_waterProvision of fresh water (quality and quantity): Changes in water availability and quality downstream (business as usual vs. alternative scenarios) will be measured. This includes an analysis of the impacts of different scenarios of the Socio Bosque programme on the productivity of the Coca Codo Sinclair hydropower plant (1,500MW). .

erosion Regulation of soil erosion and soil fertility: Changes in soil stabilization and nutrient cycling will be measured. In steep terrain, forests protect against landslides by modifying the soil moisture regime. Increased variability in water flows and the transport of eroded soil can have strong impacts on ecosystems and downstream water flows. Soil quality is underpinned by nutrient cycling, which occurs in all ecosystems and is strongly linked to productivity.

Special features of TEEB Ecuador

  • The enhanced awareness, knowledge and supporting evidence on the benefits on ecosystem services and biodiversity at the landscape level will lead to investment in the productive assets of the poor, such as soil, forests, fish, agro-biodiversity and water.
  • SocioBosque_LogoWith the western part of the Amazon Basin on its territory, Ecuador is home to 9.5 million hectares of native forest. However, more than 60,000 hectares are lost every year. The Socio-Bosque incentive programme focuses on preserving native forests and their ecological, economic, and cultural values, having a direct impact on the living conditions of rural populations. To date, the program has protected over 4 million hectares of forest and benefited over one million people. Because of its straightforward design, the Socio Bosque programme can be replicated in other countries. TEEB analysis will provide evidence of the benefits of sustained financing of the Socio-Bosque progamme, including the importance of improving the resilience of rural communities as a cost-effective strategy for climate change adaptation.
  • The results of TEEB Ecuador will be incorporated in the resource mobilisation strategy for achieving AICHI targets through the UNDP BIOFIN.
  • TEEB Ecuador incorporates the Quechua people’s concept of ‘Good Living’ in which individuals, within their social and cultural communities, pursue collective development with respect for diversity and harmonious coexistence with nature.


TEEB Ecuador – National Stakeholder Meeting (5-8 July 2016)

TEEB convened a workshop to discuss progress on TEEB Ecuador, which aims to “Integrate the role of ecosystem services and biodiversity in the transformation of the productive matrix and the energy mix of the country”. A critical component of the TEEB Approach is to stimulate buy-in from change agents from project inception all the way through to policy implementation. As such, this workshop brought together representatives from government, academia, other international projects and ecosystem service assessment experts. [read more]

Click here to watch the Interview with Paul Herrera, TEEB Ecuador Coordinator 

National Focal Point

Ministry of Environment Ecuador


Host institutions

Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL) 
Guayaquil Litoral Polytechnic School

Escuela Politécnica Nacional (EPN)
National Polytechnic School


Other engaged actors: The National Planning and Development Agency (SENPLADES), The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Aquaculture and Fisheries (MAGAP), The Vice-presidency Office – Productive Matrix Change Committee, Ministry of Industries and Productivity (MIPRO), The National Secretary of Water (SENAGUA),The Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy  (MEER), National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (NAMHI) and CELEC Hidronación. Projects within the Ministry of Environment that form part of the TEEB Steering Committee: (I) Biofin, (II) Socio Bosque, (III) UN-REDD, (IV) ‘Vulnerability Analysis to Climate Change of Hydroelectric Power Stations’ project, (v) the Monitoring of Natural Patrimony project, and (V) SEEA accounting project (SCAN).


TEEB_Diamond_Blk_TypeTEEB focal point

Salman Hussain, TEEB Coordinator –
Tomas Declercq, Technical Expert, TEEB National Implementation –


THIS project is funded by the EU

Latest Publications

Measuring what matters in agriculture and food systems: a synthesis

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) (2018). Measuring what matters in agriculture and food systems: a synthesis of the results and recommendations of TEEB for Agriculture and Food’s Scientific and Economic Foundations report. Geneva: UN Environment. Download report

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Scientific and Economic Foundations Report

The TEEBAgriFood ‘Scientific and Economic Foundations’ report addresses the core theoretical issues and controversies underpinning the evaluation of the nexus between the agri-food sector, biodiversity and ecosystem services and externalities including human health impacts from agriculture on a global scale. It argues the…

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TEEB Challenges and Responses

TEEB ‘s progress, challenges and responses towards mainstreaming the economics of nature. [ENG] [ESP]

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TEEB for Agriculture & Food Concept Note

February 2014- The Concept Note presents the case for and proposed outline content of a TEEB for Agriculture & Food study.

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Natural Capital Accounting and Water Quality: Commitments, Benefits, Needs and Progress

December 2013 – The briefing note outlines existing guidance and examples on water quality accounting and identifies the ongoing challenges related to the development of natural capital accounting and water quality accounting. Inspired by the growing global focus on natural capital accounting, the note identifies the ongoing challenges related to the development of natural capital accounting and water quality accounting, in order to encourage debate and commitment towards effective water and biodiversity policy.

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