Our Ecuador Program
conservation program focuses on Ecuador, one of the most biodiverse
countries in the world. Ecuador has one of the world’s highest
concentrations of species and species endemism along with human
communities with great cultural diversity and knowledge about these
biological resources. In fact, Ecuador ranks #1 in the world
for number of species per square mile.
Ecuador’s natural ecosystems, however, are
facing tremendous threats, with one of the highest deforestation
rates in Latin America. Its communities are increasingly affected
by global market changes, poor management of the country’s
natural resources, and poor alternatives for sustainable development.
We work through a local staff and with local governments
and communities to conserve a wide range of natural ecosystems from
dry coastal forests, to the rich cloud forests of the Andean mountains,
to the rainforests of the Amazon basin.
Learn more about our conservation
programs in Ecuador
Tropical Dry Forests
This southwest Ecuadorian forest type, characterized by trees
that lose their leaves during the dry season, is a high priority
for conservation of biodiversity worldwide. NCI works within
a cross-border geographic area containing about 250,000 acres
of the best remnants of this threatened ecosystem, which is
characterized by a large number of endemic species.
Andean cloud forests are the world’s highest biodiversity
priority with the greatest number of endemic species. NCI is
working to conserve these areas, and in 2007 we succeeded in
gaining the declaration by UNESCO of one million hectares of
Andean cloud forests as a biosphere reserve to conserve the
pristine forests of the Loja and Zamora regions and a number
of local cultures.
The Amazon regions of Ecuador present unique characteristics,
due to their great biological diversity and ancestral cultures.
Timber, minerals, and other natural resources are often exploited
without any planning to reduce the impacts on the natural environment.
NCI works with indigenous populations here to build capacity,
legalize ancestral lands, and preserve cultures and traditions.
A growing population in southern Ecuador has led to an increasing
frequency in water shortages and a decline in water quality
due to development activies within the region's watersheds.
NCI purchases high-priority lands to protect the water supplies
for thousands of citizens, and works with local governments
to establish effective conservation and management programs.