PURCHASED: Buffering the Pangan Nature Reserve, Colombia


LOCATION: Southwestern Colombia

SIZE: 13,400 acres

KEY SPECIES: Spectacled Bear, Jaguar, Banded Ground-Cuckoo, Baudó Guan, and Long-wattled Umbrellabird

HABITAT: Rainforest

THREATS: Habitat destruction for farming

ACTION: Expand the current reserve by 10,000 acres

LOCAL PARTNERS: Fundación ProAves

FINANCIAL NEED: $132,500 for 2,650 acres of rain forest saved

Banded Ground-Cuckoo
Choco Rainforest
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Project Update: The land highlighted in this project has been purchased. Additional land will become available so donations are still being accepted.

Straddling the equator and rising from the shores of the Pacific Ocean to the high Andean peaks lies the extraordinary biodiverse tropical rain forests of the Chocó region of northwestern South America. In the heart of the Chocó lies the wettest tropical area on earth–the Pangan tropical rain forest–with 26 feet of rainfall a year. Constant tropical rains supports the single greatest concentration of unique biodiversity on the planet–a biodiversity treasure trove of species found nowhere else. In recent decades, road building programs have stimulated rapid colonization that is depleting the area of its amazing forests and biodiversity. Our partner, Fundación ProAves, is acquiring critical properties along the highway in an urgent bid to create a buffer to stop colonization and destruction into the core area of surviving forest.

September 2010 Project Update:
With your support, Rainforest Trust supported the acquisition of over 1,950 acres to expand the reserve to more than 13,650 acres since December 2009. However, we urgently need to support our partner to buy and save 2,000 acres of this amazing tropical rainforest at imminent risk. Land prices are at the favorable price of $100 per acre, so please give generously.


The Chocó biogeographic region supports some of the greatest concentrations of endemic bird, butterfly, amphibian and orchid concentrations on the planet. Straddling the equator, rising from the shores of the Pacific Ocean to the high Andean peaks, the Chocó comprises the wettest region on earth. The harsh climate and extreme topography had until recently saved the region from the impacts of economic development, but in recent decades road development has penetrated this pristine wilderness. New road projects descend from the Andes to the Pacific, facilitating colonization from northern South America’s densely populated Andean hinterland, whilst natural resources flow out of the Pacific ports to supply the economic demands of Pacific Rim nations.

One of the two main road arteries in the Chocó of Colombia is the Tumaco-Pasto highway was established in the 1990s and pierces the heart of the region with colonization branching out either side of the highways to form deforested channels traversing the Chocó region. Timber is extracted from deep within the areas forested foothills and trucked to Tumaco for exportation. This north-south ecological gap is rapidly expanding and could have catastrophic environmental and social implications. Since 2005, the situation has been exacerbated by a new paved highway that branches off the Tumaco-Pasto road to the city of Barbacoas.

At the confluence of the Tumaco, Pasto, and Barbacoas highways–in the core of the Chocó–our partner ProAves has established the Pangan Nature Reserve and since 1999 they have been gradually expanding the reserve with property acquisitions from non-native colonists. The reserve encompasses 12,000 acres of super-wet tropical rain forest–the wettest tropical rain forest on earth with 26 feet (8 meters) of rainfall per year and that’s not counting the constant mists that swirl day and night through its exuberant forest.

This extreme climate supports the single highest concentration of endemic birds and orchids on the planet. The Endangered Banded Ground-Cuckoo and Baudó Guan are found regularly at this site, while the brilliant blue Pangan Poison Arrow frog is restricted entirely to its forests. Large mammals such as spectacled bears and jaguars are present. The reserve has been the site of many new species discoveries of birds (three new species since 1991), amphibians, and plants. Still, little is known of the area’s biodiversity.

ProAves has been developing grassroots conservation actions in the region for 17 years. With Rainforest Trust support, ProAves aims to acquire several strategic private properties from non-native colonists that are earmarked for logging. It is essential that we establish a protective buffer zone along the highways against any colonization that threatens to both destroy this spectacular rain forest area and isolate indigenous communities. Rainforest Trust hopes to raise $132,500 to immediately purchase 2,650 acres at $100 per acre.

Your support is urgently needed.

Map of the Project Area

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