Los Cedros Protected Forest is located in the area of influence of 10 rural communities, all belonging to the García Moreno parish of Cotacachi: Brillasol, Magdalena Alto, Chontal, San José de Magdalena, El Paraíso, Río Verde, El Corazón, Pueblo Unido, Cielo Verde and Santa Rosa de Manduriacos. The 10 communities are part of the Protected Forest’s Coadministration Committee, with two representatives per community, elected every 5 years.
The population of the communities is around 700 families, about 2,800 people. The economy is mainly peasant, dedicated to the cultivation of bananas, corn, fruits and livestock.

The communities are very proud of their achievements, because in less than 75 years with mingas and self-management they have managed to provide families with connectivity with roads, bridges, schools, churches, communal houses, sewage treatment (either with sewage or septic tanks), garbage management, watershead conservation, associativity and in recent years internet connection. The main and persistent problem is the difficult socioeconomic conditions derived from the low profitability of agriculture and cattle raising, so tourism and conservation are today one of the main opportunities to improve living conditions in the communities without having to resort to destructive activities such as mining or logging.

Map of the communities