With funding support from QRFN, Nature and Culture International (NCI) successfully acquired a piece of 85-hectare property located next to San Francisco Scientific Station, a private reserve located in the buffer zone of the Podocarpus National park, Ecuador in March 2021. The reserve and the property purchased situate within a critically important biologically diverse area called Abras de Zamora (Alliance for Zero Extinction, Key Biodiversity Area, Tropical Andes Hotspot, Global 200 Northern Andean Montane Forest).
This purchase is part of Nature and Culture International’s plan to conserve the Abras de Zamora through the purchase of up to 17 properties, adding some to NCI's private reserve and most to be donated into the Podocarpus National Park. This 85-hectare property will be incorporated into NCI’s private reserve. This purchase is urgent because the owner of the property is very eager to sell and has priced the property below market cost, and the ecological integrity of the area would be compromised.
The area of the purchase, Abra de Zamora, is a very important area for amphibian conservation. Studies carried out by the Universidad Tecnica Particular de Loja reveal the presence of 27 species of frogs, of which 12 are new to science and are currently being described. During the purchase process, NCI learned that in 2010, one of the last records of Atelopus Halihelos, a highly threatened endemic species, was made precisely in the stream that crosses the property. This rare species has hardly been seen again or recorded in recent years.
NCI is in the process of securing funding to purchase the additional properties and is currently in conversation with private donors to seek out co-financing. NCI is also having Ongoing conversations with the Ministry of Environment regarding the incorporation of Abras de Zamora into the Podocarpus National Park are going well.
Authored by Andy Lee