Saving Hectares of Biodiversity
The steep and rugged northwest Andean highlands (1800 – 2800 metres) create the perfect environment for Cloud Forests.
Bathed in daily moisture, these rainforests are home to an amazing 15-17% of the world’s plant species and nearly 20% of its bird species.
Threatened by logging, clearing (for agriculture), and mining, securing the ongoing protection of these forest areas has never been more urgent. Since 2003, generous donations from partners like Rainforest Rescue have allowed Rainforest Concern to purchase areas of Cloud Forest within the remote Intag region. Intag lies between two protected areas – the Paso Alto Mountain Range and the Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve, internationally recognised for their ecological importance. The vision was to connect these two protected areas through land acquisitions, creating a continuous protected Cloud Forest corridor.
To date, 1761 hectares of Cloud Forest has been purchased and secured within the Neblina North and Neblina South Reserves. A recent property purchase has added another 80 hectares, completing an all-important link between the North and South Neblina reserve areas.
All of the current Neblina Reserve has been declared ‘Protected Forest’ in the national protected areas system. Currently there are two more properties earmarked for purchase. One of these (Cárdenas) is close to the reserve, and its 260 hectares are densely covered in undisturbed high conservation value forest. Nearby, a smaller property connects directly to Neblina, and is expected to be available for purchase in the near future. Hopes are very high for securing these important additions to the Neblina Reserve.
There is a degree of urgency to secure the purchase of the Cárdenas property. It recently passed down to an extended family who are eager to sell, and the property is ‘attractive’ to potential buyers because of its’ suitability for growing a wide range of agricultural crops. This high conservation value Cloud Forest deserves protection.
The almost impenetrable Cloud Forests provide an important sanctuary for a world biodiversity ‘hotspot’ of plants and animal.
Former Cloud Forest, cleared for agriculture
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