PURCHASED: Saving the Cosanga Cloud Forest, Ecuador

San Isidro Owl


LOCATION:  Cosanga valley, Ecuador

SIZE: 5,000 acres

KEY SPECIES:  Peruvian Antpitta, Bicolored Antvireo, San Isidro Owl; and many other endemic and threatened species

HABITAT: Montane cloud forest

THREATS: Illegal logging and clearing for cattle ranching

ACTION: Expand the San Isidro reserve a further 625 acres. The reserve has good ecotourism infrastructure including a lodge, research facilities, trails, and internet

LOCAL PARTNERS: Napo Andean Forest Foundation

FINANCIAL NEED: $90,000 for land titles

By David Agro
Peruvian Antpitta
Chestnut-breasted Coronet

Project Update: The land highlighted in this project has been purchased. Additional land will become available so donations are still being accepted.

Rainforest Trust is working with the Napo Andean forest Foundation (NAFF) to buy forested lands in the Cosanga Valley of Ecuador. These lands are covered by Andean cloud forests, and host many endemic, rare and/or endangered species. Many local lands have become available for sale, as there are very low economic returns from trying to farm or raise cattle on their steep slopes. Rainforest Trust is buying lands at just under $100 an acre and working with the many residents who want to protect the valley and establish ecotourism and other sustainable development opportunities in this beautiful area. Here are three reasons to save these lands:

1. They house exceptional biodiversity even for Ecuador, which is one of the richest biodiversity nations in the world. Many of this site’s plant species are endemic, or restricted to this area, including an astonishing variety of orchids, bromeliads, ferns and trees. Along with such attractive mammal species such as the spectacled bear, mountain tapir, ocelot and puma, the area is home to 310 bird species, including 30 species of hummingbirds, and hosts rare species such as the Peruvian Antpitta, Bicolored Antvireo and the enigmatic “San Isidro Owl” that is regularly found only here.

2. Each acre purchased protects not only great biodiversity, but also preserves the life-support functions of natural ecosystems that sustain life on earth. Every acre purchased sequesters approximately 100 tons of carbon dioxide that helps to prevent climate change, provides us with the oxygen we need to breath, and protects watershed values. We will help to protect all life on earth each time we protect another acre.

3. Buying these forests will help to create a major forested connection across the Cosanga Valley that links the Antisana and Gran Sumaco reserves by way of a wide swathe of flat montane forest. Because so much of the flat forest in the area has been cleared, the area is now one of the last opportunities to save an unbroken and vital altitudinal connection between the paramo at 4,000 meters above sea level at the top of Antisana to the foothill forests at 1,400 meters elevation in the Gran Sumaco reserve.

There is a great new opportunity to buy five properties of 125 acres each south of the Cosanga River, across from San Isidro and within the national reserve, that are for sale for $11,000 each ($96 per acre). Again, buying these will not only preserve great forest with tall trees, but will greatly reduce the pressure on the national reserve, as the owners are slowly clearing this land, and are lobbying to have the park’s lines redrawn to exclude their properties.

Can you help us by donation to save these lands? We do not think this opportunity will last long, as the road from Quito has been recently paved, and will bring increased development pressure and rising land prices.

Rainforest Trust is helping NAFF by raising the needed funds, and will not charge any overhead – all of your donation will go directly to land conservation, for perpetual protection to fulfill your desire to save rainforest directly – yourself.

Map of the Project Area

Project map