Rainforest Trust and partner Fundación Jocotoco have once again expanded the Narupa Reserve. This month, 159 acres were purchased in the Napo bioregion of northeast Ecuador, 75% of which are primary, pristine forest habitat. Established in 2006 to save a large block of eastern Andean foothill forest, the reserve also consists of old growth and young secondary forest and abandoned pasture lands which will, in time, regrow into woodland.
Landscape restoration is critical in the Napo region. The forests here are suffering from illegal logging and conversion to agricultural land. But reserve expansion provides vital habitat for endemic bird species like the Endangered Black-and-chestnut Eagle and vulnerable migrants like the Cerulean Warbler. Birders have recorded over 1,000 bird species in the Napo region, exemplifying the importance of this humid montane forest. This month’s purchase also includes wetland habitat for at least four Endangered amphibian species, including the Puyo Giant Glass Frog.
This expansion is part of a larger conservation goal to connect the Narupa Reserve with the Sumaco Napo-Galeras National Park to the north and the Antisana Ecological Reserve to the west, two larger protected areas. This strategic ecological corridor will benefit threatened Andean species and allow birds and mammals to move between large expanses of rainforest freely. Camera trap surveys have confirmed the presence of Pumas, Ocelots and Brazilian Tapirs in Narupa.
“Facilitating animal movement in this increasingly fragmented landscape is of the utmost importance,” said Rainforest Trust CEO Paul Salaman. “Habitat encroachment is rampant, with extractive industries bringing more roads and more people to the rainforest. But species studies have already shown us that the Narupa Reserve is effective in protecting wildlife long term. And the project has the continued support of the Ecuadorean people living nearby. They embrace the reserve, which is essential for its long-term success.”