Our study area is located in the Ecuadorian province of Esmeraldas, specifically in the Canton Eloy Alfaro, which comprises 12 parroquias and approximately 120 villages. We are working in 24 of these villages, which are located along three rivers, the Río Cayapas, Río Santiago, and Río Onzole. These three rivers all drain towards Borbón, the main population center of the region. Two ethnic groups, the Chachis and the Black community inhabit this area.
The Santiago-Capayas-Onzole river system in the Ecuadorian province of Esmeraldas is a region undergoing intense environmental and social change, largely because a new highway recently constructed along the coast has begun to connect previously remote villages in this area to the outside world, causing ensuing changes in resource extraction, land use, and human migration patterns. Construction of the road has led to intensified logging and deforestation, as well as increased migration into and out of the region.