On November 9th, 2022, the Cazaderos Reserve in the Loja Province of southern Ecuador achieved an upgraded conservation status and joined the National System of Protected Areas (SNAP). The 12,170-acre reserve is part of a unique biological corridor with northern Peru. Cazaderos lies in the better-preserved area of the binational Biosphere Reserve, Bosques de Paz. It also connects with Bosques de Tumbes National Reserve in Peru, forming the most significant binational dry forest corridor on the Pacific coast.
The tropical dry forests of southwestern Ecuador are home to extraordinary biodiversity including plant and animal species found nowhere else in the world. Unfortunately, over 95% of this forest has already been lost to human activity. Safeguarded by local communities, the Cazaderos Reserve is home to many iconic species, including the Mantled howler monkey (Aloutta Palliatta), the American Crocodile (Cocodrilus acutus), the Peccary, and the Boa constrictor in addition to deer, pumas, and many of the most threatened bird species of the region.
Although the Cazaderos Reserve has been privately owned and managed by Nature and Culture International since 2008, the rapid expansion of activities such as agriculture, logging, mining, and hunting left the Reserve under threat. Inclusion in the National System of Protected Areas affords more robust protection, including prohibiting future mining concessions or other extraction of resources from the subsoil.
The Cazaderos Reserve achieved the highest level of protection thanks to the National System of Protected Areas of the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Ecological Transition of Ecuador (MAATE) in collaboration with Nature and Culture International- Ecuador.