SavingSpecies: Ecuador Forests for Monkeys, Birds and Frogs

Photo of Ecuadorian forest.

Northwest coastal Ecuador’s spectacular forests teem with life. (Photo by Ryan Lynch.)

Ecuador: a country steeped in biodiversity and conservation history, a land saturated with rare plants and creatures–some of which are found no where else on Earth–and a nation facing enormous pressures from oil and gas development and other threats to its ecosystems.

And a country with HOPE for the future of its natural heritage!

SavingSpecies is thrilled to support a forest corridor restoration project in the north-west coastal region of Ecuador. We have partnered with Ecuadorian-based non-profits Grupo Ecológico Jama-Coaque (GEJC) and Third Millennium Alliance (TMA), as well as the IUCN-Netherlands, to restore and expand coastal Ecuador’s tropical forests with native trees and vegetation. On the project’s completion, two of the region’s most important forest protected areas will be connected, providing more habitat for plants and wildlife, including several critically endangered species.

PROJECT UPDATE! SAVINGSPECIES NEEDS YOUR HELP FOR THE NEXT PHASE OF THE PROJECT!

You helped SavingSpecies increase the size of a critical protected area in Ecuador–now help us with the next step to connect the corridor!

Specifically, we are seeking to help our local Ecuadorian partners purchase 102 hectares (252 acres) of land that is the geographical heart of our multiyear corridor plan.

This map, created by Dr. Clinton Jenkins, shows the corridor strategy from humid montane forests to dry forest closer to the coast. Each parcel is a critical part of SavingSpecies and its partners' efforts to protect Ecuador's stunning biodiversity.

This map, created by Dr. Clinton Jenkins, shows the corridor strategy, connecting land with humid montane forests to dry forest closer to the coast. Each parcel is a critical part of SavingSpecies and its partners’ efforts to protect Ecuador’s stunning biodiversity.

As you can see from the visually-stunning map created by SavingSpecies’ scientists, the Bold Red Parcel “4” is 102 hectares that helps connect the the protected areas from the east–Parcel “1” in Orange, and Parcels “2” and “3” in Yellow, that we helped purchase with your support!–toward the western protected area “10” in Blue.

If you look closely, you can see how this parcel also connects to the forests up and over the ridge–tremendously important to sustaining genetic diversity and food webs for rare and threatened wildlife.

Securing the 102-hectare parcel “4” and adding it to the protected area would help SavingSpecies achieve the conservation corridor between the two reserves. The specific area along the proposed corridor is targeted because: 1) it represents one of the only forested areas in all of coastal Ecuador connecting three distinct forest types (dry forest, tropical moist forest, and premontane cloud forest) along an elevational gradient; 2) it is known to host a variety of threatened species (highlighted below); and 3) it has a high probability of being deforested in the near future (mostly due to increasing balsa plantation activity).

Once completed, the corridor will stretch the roughly 3 km forested ridgeline that runs between the two reserves, thus developing a single continuous protected area approximately 1,000 hectares (almost 2,500 acres) in size.

And you can help! Please support SavingSpecies’ Ecuador Forest Corridor Connectivity Project by donating:




(Below are details about SavingSpecies’ first efforts to improve the forest corridor in Ecuador, and more information about the wildlife that depends on strong, healthy, intact forests to survive).

This project’s 68-hectare (168 acre) restoration area is located in coastal north-western Ecuador and will help protect many species.

Birds: The property is located within Important Bird Area (IBA) EC010, with 13 globally threatened and near-threatened species, including the grey-backed hawk (Leucopternis occidentalis), the slaty becard (Pachyramphus spodiurus), and the grey-cheeked parakeet (Brotogeris pyrrhoptera), each of which are listed as Endangered by IUCN. IBA EC010 has the fifth highest density of A1 species per hectare out of the 107 IBAs in Ecuador-—no country on Earth has more bird species per square kilometer than Ecuador!

Reptiles and amphibians: the area hosts a treasure trove of species including nine that are listed as Vulnerable, three that are Endangered, and the Ecuadorian glass frog (Cochranella mache), which is Critically Endangered.

Mammals: the property serves as refuge for at least one and sometimes two troops of Ecuadorian white-fronted capuchin monkeys (Cebus albifrons aequatorialis, with 12 to 20 individuals in each troop), which are listed as Critically Endangered by IUCN. It also supports populations of other primates, such as the mantled howler monkey (Alouatta palliata), and wild cats including the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis).

The star of this area (at least among mammals) is the Critically Endangered Ecuadorian white-fronted capuchin monkey (Cebus albifrons aequatorialis)–it desperately needs its habitat restored and protected, and we will be doing that with this project. As the project restores forest to connect two protected areas, it will have an enormous impact on genetic diversity and increase the chances of survival for the vulnerable species that live in this biodiversity hotspot.

We take pride in supporting conservation projects in areas with the highest biodiversity and the most at-risk species, as well as kinds of life: plants, mammals, birds, insects, and reptiles and amphibians. In helping small, local conservation groups, we are also capacity-building for future generations of nature’s defenders.

And you can be a part of this great effort to connect, protect, and restore Ecuador’s forests by donating:




And thank you!

Photo of Ecaudorian monkey.

A photo of the critically endangered Ecuadorian white-fronted capuchin monkey (Cebus albifrons aequatorialis) from the project area. (Photo by Eva Filipczykova.)

Photo of glass frog.

The critically endangered Ecuadorian glass frog (Cochranella mache), still hanging on! (Photo by Ryan Lynch.)

Photo of a young White-fronted Capuchin Monkey .

A young white-fronted capuchin monkey. (Photo by Whaldener Endo. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)