Study by Nature and Culture identifies priority conservation areas
Strategic Area: Wild Places
Content Type: News
A newly-completed study by Nature and Culture will support local governments in identifying and creating priority conservation areas.
Nature and Culture International’s team in Ecuador just finished a comprehensive study on biodiversity and ecosystem services in the province of El Oro. The study will be used to identify and create priority conservation areas in the region.
Located in southern Ecuador, El Oro comprises 19 diverse ecosystems, including cloud and montane forests, paramo grasslands, and mangroves. Each ecosystem is home to an array of plants and animals – just one hectare (or 2.5 acres) of cloud forest holds between 100 and 180 species of trees.
Ecosystems within the province also provide essential provisioning and regulating services. For example, El Oro’s montane forests supply water to 90% of the province’s population and play an important role in the regulation of local climate.
Despite their significance, these ecosystems are highly threatened. According to Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment, between 2008 and 2014, 15,000 acres of forest in El Oro were lost each year due to deforestation.
Thanks to donors and partners like Andes Amazon Fund, Nature and Culture conducted a comprehensive study of the province’s ecosystems to help identify and create priority conservation areas. In the study, 288,780 acres were identified as potential areas to add to El Oro’s Conservation Areas System.
The study will be included in local governments’ Planning and Territorial Development Plans, serving as an important tool to protect southern Ecuador’s biodiversity.
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