Volcano and cloud forests conserved in Ecuador

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
December 05, 2011



 Antisana Volcano. Photo by: Stefan Weigal.
Antisana Volcano. Photo by: Stefan Weigal.

Conservation organizations and the Ecuadorian government have succeeded in securing over 250,000 acres (106,000 hectares) of cloud forest and grasslands surrounding the Antisana Volcano for protection. The area, long-used for cattle ranching, is home to Andean condors (Vultur gryphus), cougars (Puma concolor), Andean fox (Lycalopex culpaeus), silvery grebes (Podiceps occipitalis), black-faced ibis (Theristicus melanopis), spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), and three species of endangered frogs. The protected area stretches from 3,900 feet (1,188 meters) to 18,700 feet (5,699 meters) above sea level.

"The contiguous 264,382 acre land purchase around Volcan Antisana represents one of the greatest conservation successes ever in the Andes," said Robert Ridgely, executive director of World Land Trust-US, which helped secure the properties along with local organization Fundación Jocotoco and the Ecuadorian government.

Although the region was declared a reserve in 1993, 80 percent of the land had not been purchased at the time from private land owners. The next 18 years were spent securing private land for protection.

"Due to a long history of intensive grazing, Antisana’s ecosystems are significantly degraded, and this affects an important part of the watershed that supplies water to much of Quito. Nonetheless Antisana has outstanding biodiversity values which make it amply worthy of protection," WLT writes in a blog, adding that "tropical Andean cloud forests such as are found at Antisana are considered the world's number one biodiversity priority, due to their species richness, endemism and degree of risk; they harbor multitudes of rare and endangered species. "



Black-faced ibises. Photo by: Frank Vassen.
Black-faced ibises. Photo by: Frank Vassen.















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CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (December 05, 2011).

Volcano and cloud forests conserved in Ecuador.

http://news.mongabay.com/2011/1204-hance_antisana.html