Connecting the Megadiverse Cloud Forests of Southern Ecuador

Timeframe: 2021 – 2023
Country/Region: Ecuador
Partner: Fundación Jocotoco

The Andes of Southern Ecuador are particularly rich in amphibian, bird, and mammal species many of which are endemic. Here, like elsewhere in the northern Tropical Andes biodiversity hotspot, habitat destruction is a severe threat. For this reason, the recent declaration of the 70’000 hectares Palanda Municipal Reserve (PALM) in the Zamora-Chinchipe Province provides a unique opportunity to strengthen the effective regional protection of three adjacent protected areas in Southern Ecuador (Podocarpus National Park, Yacurí National Parks and Cerro Plateado Biological Reserve). All too often however, if not sufficiently supported and resourced, governmental reserves degrade into paper parks due to a lack of management or integration of conservation priorities into spatial planning, monitoring and law enforcement, as well as lack of long-term financial sustainability. The Fundación Jocotoco project will work with the Palanda municipality and local stakeholders to safeguard a matrix of protected areas and restore habitat across the reserve.

The partners will implement conservation activities and develop financial mechanisms to ensure effective long-term protection of the 70’000 hectares PALM. The project’s specific objectives are the following:

  1. Design and implement a protected area management plan for PALM.
  2. Establish and implement standardized protocols for patrolling & monitoring threatened species within PALM.
  3. Increase knowledge of threatened plant species throughout PALM to guide reforestation efforts.
  4. Increase forest cover within critical areas of PALM to create connective corridors for wildlife.
  5. Develop and implement a carbon financing program for the protected areas within the Podocarpus-El Condor Biosphere Reserve.