The unique and threatened biodiversity of the Ecuadorean Amazon has been a conservation priority to Rainforest Trust since our earliest days. So far, we have helped to protect over 327,000 acres of critical rainforest habitat in the country, an area roughly the size of Los Angeles, with no intention of slowing down. Recently, Rainforest Trust helped to expand two significant reserves within the Ecuadorean Amazon.
In collaboration with our longest-running partner, Fundación Jocotoco, we purchased two new parcels, totaling 256 acres, to expand the Narupa Reserve. The now 3,368-acre protected area safeguards key habitat in the Napo bioregion of northeast Ecuador. This region is home to 300 species of birds, including the Endangered Black-and-chestnut Eagle and the VulnerableCerulean Warbler, a neotropical migrant that appears in many North American forests during the summer. This purchase contributes to a larger long-term aspiration for the Narupa Reserve to continue to expand and protect threatened forests and species in the surrounding areas.
We also worked with our new partner, Fundación Sumac Muyu, to expand the Bigal River Biological Reserve by 199 acres. The reserve houses ecologically unique, old-growth upper-tropical foothill forests, providing a protected wildlife corridor from highlands to lowlands. The reserve serves as a buffer to the Sumaco Napo–Galeras National Park within the Sumaco Biosphere Reserve. The protected area is also part of the Northern Andes Endemic Bird Area, which is classified as a Key Biodiversity Area. This hotspot supports taxa from both the Andes and the Amazon, containing over 480 bird species, 56 large mammal species, 77 reptiles, 64 amphibians, 159 arachnids and 1,396 insects.
These strategic expansions have protected critical rainforest habitats from agricultural encroachment and harmful development that threatened to envelop them. Especially now, the protection of Latin America’s rainforests is vital. Rainforest Trust plans to continue expanding our network of protection. We are currently working on projects that will safeguard another 4,000 acres in the area and are constantly seeking out new endeavours to expand and create reserves.
These land purchases in Ecuador were made possible by gifts to the Conservation Action Fund and the SAVES Challenge. A special thank you to the following for their leadership support: March Conservation Fund and Artenschutzstiftung Zoo (Narupa Reserve); Josh Sohn and Amy Palin (Bigal River Biological Reserve).
Header image: Bigal River Biological Reserve. Photo by Fundación Sumac Muyu.