Land Purchase Consolidates Critical Cloud Forest Reserve in Ecuador

Nov 21, 2016

ConservationProtection

Over the past 16 years, Rainforest Trust has helped establish and expand Buenaventura Reserve in southern Ecuador. After 15 land acquisitions, a key property to consolidate the most important cloud forest reserve in southern Ecuador has just been secured.

  • El Oro Parakeet. Photo by Doug Wechsler.

Rainforest Trust recently received notice from partner Fundación Jocotoco that it has purchased the Guzman property to expand Buenaventura Reserve by an additional 469 acres. The reserve, which now totals 6,266 acres, provides habitat for Endangered birds such as El Oro Parakeets and Ecuadorian Tapaculos.

Discovered 36 years ago by Rainforest Trust’s president, Dr. Robert Ridgely, approximately half the global population of El Oro Parakeets reside entirely within Buenaventura Reserve today. Since the reserve was established in 2000, the El Oro Parakeet population has rebounded by 33 percent. The few dozen remaining Ecuadorian Tapaculos, an Endangered bird species that has lost much of its range due to deforestation, depend on the reserve for their survival.

“After 16 years of purchasing private properties to build this amazing gem of a nature reserve, we are delighted to have helped secure a key parcel and conclude this phase of the reserve’s development,” said Rainforest Trust CEO Dr. Paul Salaman.

“We are grateful to the many supporters of our land purchase campaign to create a permanent cloud forest safe haven for the Endangered El Oro Parakeet and other spectacular species.”

In addition to the El Oro Parakeet and Ecuadorian Tapaculo, Buenaventura Reserve also protects a stronghold site for the Endangered Gray-backed Hawk. This species is typically found only in pairs but is commonly observed in greater numbers in the reserve. Other threatened birds include the Rufous-headed Chachalaca, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Red-masked Parakeet and Pacific Royal Flycatcher. More than 330 species of birds have been recorded at Buenaventura, of which 34 are local endemics.

Buenaventura Reserve also provides habitat for 33 amphibian species and 29 reptile species, five of which are globally threatened. A new species of nonvenomous snake (Synophis zaheri) was discovered at the Buenaventura Lodge and described in 2015. The Buenaventura Rainfrog (Pristimantis buenaventura) was described at the reserve this year.

Rainforest Trust thanks all of its supporters that helped support Buenaventura, including March Conservation Fund, Dansk Ornitologisk Forening, Fairledge Fund, Martin Schaefer, Robert and Peg Ridgely, The Moses Feldman Family Foundaiton, Weeden Foundation, Bihua Chen and Jackson Loomis, James and Ellen Strauss, George W. Merck Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, J. Milton Harris and Alice Chenault, Emmerson and Sheila Bowes, Sally Davidson, Leo Model Foundation, Roberta Ashkin, Nigel Simpson, Bert Harris, and an anonymous supporter.