Andes Amazon Fund celebrates the establishment of the San José de Payamino Municipal Conservation and Sustainable Use Area, created in June of 2023. The new conservation area is located in the northeastern Ecuadorian province of Orellana and spans 134,223 acres (54,318 hectares) of fragile ecosystems. The area will contribute to the long-term resilience and restoration of one of the most biodiverse regions in the Amazon and will protect critical headwaters that provide freshwater to the entire province.
Adding to a Connectivity Corridor
San José de Payamino contains one of the highest levels of biodiversity and endemism in Ecuador, particularly due to the variety of ecosystems encompassed in a small area. The conservation area includes three key ecosystems: lowland Amazonian floodplains, evergreen lowland forests, and western Andean evergreen forests, which include water-storing high-altitude grasslands. The conservation area also contributes to an important biological corridor comprised of the Sumaco Napo-Galeras National Park, the El Chaco Municipal Conservation Area, and the Cayambe Coca National Park.
A Climate Escape Route for Flora and Fauna
To underscore the unique biodiversity, ecological surveys have found 225 unique tree species in just one hectare of the new conservation area. San José de Payamino also hosts over 300 species of birds, 101 species of mammals, 1,266 species of insects (of which nearly 600 are butterflies), 58 species of amphibians, 64 species of reptiles, and 470 species of fish. Endangered species in the reserve include the Jaguar (Panthera onca) and the giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis). The altitudinal and ecosystemic diversity of the conservation area also supports climate change resilience, as flora and fauna can migrate to higher altitudes as temperatures rise.
Beyond its biodiversity, the forests and grasslands of San José de Payamino produce the main water source for the entire province of Orellana—home to over 100,000 people.
“The environmental importance of the Ecuadorian Amazon is not limited to the large quantity of flora and fauna species that inhabit the territory. Its conservation plays a decisive role for the wellbeing of humans.”Ana Arroyo, Communications Officer of the NGO Ecopar
The San José de Payamino Municipal Conservation and Sustainable Use Area was established thanks to the collaboration of the Autonomous Decentralized Government of Loreto, the Autonomous Decentralized Government of San José de Payamino, and the presidents of the 13 local communities of San José de Payamino. Technical support was provided by AAF partner organization Ecopar.