Reserve Expansions in Ecuador Increase Protection by Over 500 Acres

Taylor Robb-McCord

Feb 28, 2018

NewsProtected Areas

Across Ecuador, Rainforest Trust and its local partner Fundación Jocotoco have successfully added 521 acres to three previously established reserves.

The Buenaventura Reserve was expanded by 180 acres, as part of a large conservation initiative to create a 222,395-acre ecological corridor throughout the El Oro province. The Buenaventura Reserve is the only protected area in the region, and it is ranked as one of the most threatened biodiversity hotspots on Earth, with an annual deforestation rate of nearly 2 percent. This high level of deforestation, combined with the already fragmented nature of this landscape, makes it crucial to save the last remaining forest patches in the Buenaventura Reserve area.

This reserve harbors 14 globally-threatened bird species, four of which only occur in western Ecuador, and approximately half the global population of Endangered El Oro Parakeets reside entirely within reserve today. The few dozen remaining Endangered Ecuadorian Tapaculos depend on the reserve for their survival. Saving this well-forested property from logging also protects many rare plants and provides habitat for the Critically Endangered Ecuadorian White-fronted Capuchin.

  • Landscape view of the Buenaventura Reserve. Photo by Fundación Jocotoco

The Narupa Reserve was expanded by 243 acres and will now be protected from threats such as illegal logging, deforestation and agricultural expansion. This reserve is located in the Napo bioregion of northeast Ecuador and is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. Enlarging the Narupa Reserve protects viable populations of globally threatened species. Rainforest Trust will continue helping its local partner expand the Narupa Reserve to eventually achieve strategic connectivity with the Reserva Ecologica Antisana and Sumaco-Napo-Galeras.

  • View of the Narupa Reserve landscape. Photo by Fundación Jocotoco

The Río Canandé Reserve was expanded by 98 acres as part of the long-term objective of establishing an ecological corridor between Canandé and the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve. This reserve is a hotspot for biodiversity with one of the highest concentrations of endemic species in the world. The reserve holds the sole population of the Critically Endangered Canandé Magnolia and is home to the Critically Endangered Brown-headed Spider Monkey, one of the world’s rarest primates. The area is also critical for the Mache Glass Frog and is one of the few sites where the species is found. The Río Canandé Reserve has been identified as a Key Biodiversity Area and serves as a refuge for over 350 bird species, including at least 36 Endangered Great Green Macaws that inhabit the area – perhaps the largest group in Ecuador.

  • Canopy view of the Rio Canandé Reserve. Photo by Fundación Jocotoco

Rainforest Trust will continue to support the purchasing of critical properties that will expand the Buenaventura Reserve, the Narupa Reserve and the Río Canandé Reserve to provide security for some of the world’s most biodiverse and threatened habitats.


Thank you to our generous friends and the SAVES Challenge for making these projects a success. For more information on how you can support conservation projects, please visit the Conservation Action Fund.