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In 2015: Nearly 450,000 acres of watershed forests protected in Bolivia and Ecuador


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The Ivi Maraei Municipal Watershed Reserve in Chuquisaca, Bolivia and the Gualaquiza Municipal Reserve in Cuenca, Ecuador preserve rich Andean cloud forests, a stunning array of species, and the regions’ water supply. They represent a vision by the local communities and governments to secure clean water now and for generations to come.

_FRL3948_v2Spanning 217,360 acres, the Gualaquiza Municipal Reserve is the most recent in a long line of declarations brought about through the work of our office in Cuenca, Ecuador. This new reserve is twice the size of the nearby Cajas National Park, and protects pristine cloud forests while ensuring both the quality and quantity of the water supply for local communities.

The Andes Mountains are home to an extraordinary number of species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world, making this one of our top priorities for biodiversity conservation. In the past year, two different frog species that were previously believed to be extinct (the Azuay Stubfoot-Toad and more recently, the species Atelopus bomolochos) were discovered in the cloud forest of Sigsig, one of the nearby areas we are now working to protect.

In southern Bolivia, the 226,499 acre Ivi Maraei Municipal Watershed Reserve declared in Chuquisaca marks the first reserve declared in Bolivia with NCI’s support. Through a partnership with the local NGO Natura Bolivia, NCI provided the funding needed to catalyze and guide the creation of this important watershed reserve. Now, NCI is continuing its expansion into Bolivia by funding the creation of additional protected areas alongside Natura.