The new Loja Municipal Conservation and Sustainable Use Area in the Ecuadorian Andes, declared on October 27, protects 73,701 acres. Divided into 13 blocks throughout Loja, the new area saves wildlife and water sources for 200,000 people.
Loja Municipal Conservation and Sustainable Use Area, located on the southeastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses cloud and montane forests and paramo grasslands. Its vast landscape is home to thousands of species, from large mammals like the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) to small birds such as the blue-throated hillstar hummingbird (Oreotrochilus cyanolaemus). Wildlife in the region include threatened and unique species – some of which are recently discovered and new to science.
The new area shares proximity to Podocarpus National Park, a park renowned for its biological richness. In linking these two protected areas, Loja Municipal Conservation and Sustainable Use Area establishes habitat connectivity essential for the long-term survival of far-ranging species.
By protecting the forests and grasslands within Loja, the area will safeguard a vital water source for its 200,000 inhabitants and protect natural resources from expanding agriculture, mining and other threats. It will also help prevent droughts and floods, both of which are becoming more common as climate change becomes another threat to our ecosystems.
Andes Amazon Fund would like to congratulate our grantee Nature and Culture International on this incredible accomplishment along with support from the municipality of Loja and FORAGUA, the municipal water fund in southern Ecuador. Further financial support was provided by Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC).