A recent purchase of 575 acres (233 ha) in the Ecuadorian Andes has protected a narrow zone of piedmont cloud forest habitat in the country’s El Oro province. The purchase adds to the existing Buenaventura Reserve and expands its total area to more than 15 square miles. It will bridge two previously separated parts of the reserve, increasing connectivity of vital cloud forest habitat essential to endangered endemic species like El Oro Parakeet and El Oro Tapaculo.
Fundación de Conservación Jocotoco established the Buenaventura Reserve in 1999 to provide a sanctuary for the El Oro Parakeet, a rare species only known to science since 1980. The bright-green bird, which currently numbers just a few hundred individuals, is only found in a small stretch of cloud forest in Ecuador. Only 5 to 10 percent of this forest still exists — the rest has been cleared for firewood, agriculture, and livestock grazing. Thanks to the efforts of Jocotoco, American Bird Conservancy, and partners, the cloud forest within Buenaventura is safe from these threats.
Since the reserve’s establishment more than 20 years ago, Jocotoco has expanded it several times to protect additional habitat. This latest expansion represents an important milestone in the fight against the habitat fragmentation that plagues the region. The newly protected habitat includes intact cloud forest, but also some land degraded by agriculture. Natural regeneration is already visible on the degraded land, which will improve habitat connectivity in the medium-to-long term.
Buenaventura’s variety of forest ecosystems and endemic birds has made it a popular ecotourism destination. More than 300 bird species call the Buenaventura Reserve home, including the rare Little Woodstar hummingbird and charismatic Long-wattled Umbrellabird. As the reserve continues to expand, it helps ensure that people will be able to continue to visit these birds in the wild for generations to come.
The Conserva Aves Initiative, which is led by American Bird Conservancy, the National Audubon Society, BirdLife International, and the Red de Fondos Ambientales en Latinoamérica y el Caribe (RedLAC), promotes climate resilience and sustainable development. This expansion of the Buenaventura Reserve is the first in Conserva Aves’ efforts to complete a network of high-biodiversity conservation areas across the Tropical Andes.
Thanks to American Bird Conservancy for providing this news. Learn more about the purchase here.