EPHI Ecuador – Project Sites

The study area of the EPHI project in Ecuador is located in the northwest of Pichincha province where 18 transects of 1.5 km in length were established along an altitudinal gradient between 800 and 3500 m, and a deforestation gradient. Eleven transects were located inside well-conserved forests and 7 transects were in sites with different levels of disturbance. All the reserves or properties where the EPHI project was implemented are dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity and natural resources, mainly water, whether for ecotourism, birdwatching or sustainable farming production.

Un Poco del Chocó

950-1200 M A.S.L

Un Poco del Chocó reserve (which translates “a little bit of Chocó”) is a private conservation project created by MSc Nicole Büttner and her husband Willo Vaca who own 15 hectares of tropical foothill forest. Their objective is to promote research and education by managing a biological station where they receive volunteers and students from different countries.


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Santa Lucía

1300-2500 M A.S.L

Santa Lucía reserve is a community tourism initiative that has been operating successfully since year 2000, as a sustainable development activity that has improved the quality of life of the community. Santa Lucía reserve protects 720 hectares of cloud forest in which a great biodiversity could be found.


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900-2780 M A.S.L

The Maquipucuna reserve protects more than 5000 hectares of foothill forest and cloud forest and covering a large elevation gradient. The reserve is privately managed by Fundación Maquipucuna who have been the pioneers of ecotourism in the region. This site is unique in the Andes for the observation of the Spectacled Bear, which migrate seasonally to feed on the fruits of the Pacche or Aguacatillo (Lauraceae) found in the reserve.


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Mashpi Lodge

500-1200 M A.S.L

Mashpi Lodge reserve encompass 2000 hectares of mature tropical foothill forest and is one of the most important in the lower Chocó, in terms of area protected. In the middle of this natural area is the Mashpi Lodge, whose mentor Roque Sevilla promoted the idea of having a luxury hotel of sustainable construction that supports the conservation and research of this area.


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750-1700 M A.S.L

Amagusa is a private reserve of 130 hectares located next to Mashpi Lodge reserve. Originally used as an agricultural-livestock farm by the Basantes family, it is currently under recovery and is managed by Sergio Basantes and his wife Doris for conservation and birdwatching purposes.


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Las Gralarias

1750-2400 M A.S.L

Las Gralarias is a private reserve managed by Dr. Jane Lyons and it is dedicated to biodiversity conservation and birdwatching. Currently the reserve protects 525 hectares of mature and restored cloud forest. The reserve is named after the genus Grallaria, which corresponds to a group of vocal land birds represented by five species present in the reserve.


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1600-1800 M A.S.L

Sachatamia is an ecological reserve dedicated to nature tourism. It has 120 hectares that include areas of regeneration and mature forest, such as the Piedras Negras forest near the Mindo Nambillo Protected Forest, where we established the project transect at 1700 masl.


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Puyucunapi farm

1800-2200 M A.S.L

Puyucunapi farm is a pilot restoration project. Puyucunapi is a private property owned by the Tellkamp family and it is managed by Mindo Cloud Forest Foundation (MCF). Puyucunapi means in the clouds in Quichua. The farm has an extension of 240 hectares in which forest remnants persist alongside with pasturelands.


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Casa Rumisitana

1350-1500 M A.S.L

Casa Rumisitana is a 30 hectare farm that combines its agricultural activities with ecotourism and agro-tourism. Devoted mainly to sustainable production of coffee and cattle growth is part of several local, national and international initiatives for the conservation of biodiversity.


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Alaspungo Community Forest

2600-3100 M A.S.L

The Alaspungo Community Forest is located in the northwestern flanks of Pichincha volcano, 13 km from Quito. It protects 600 hectares of cloud forest and it is guarded by the Alaspungo community. Alaspungo is a hamlet made up of 25 inhabitants, most of whom are elderly and engaged in traditional activities such as cattle raising and firewood collection. The entrance to the cloud forest is  1h15 away from the community. Inside the forest there is a system of ancestral trails called “culuncus”, therefore beside its biological importance this site also protects cultural heritage.

Verdecocha Reserve

2200-3300 M A.S.L

The Verdecocha reserve is property of Nubesierra foundation and is adjacent to Yanacocha reserve. It covers 1200 hectares of pristine cloud and high-Andean forests. It is currently one of the most important sites for the Black-breasted Puffleg on the northwestern flanks of Pichincha volcano, where the species is known to perform breeding activities regularly. Through our EPHI project we have been able to document the feeding ecology of the species and hopefully this knowledge will support further conservation actions.

Yanacocha Reserve

3200-3800 M A.S.L

The Yanacocha Reserve is located on the western slopes of the Pichincha volcano, and was created by the Jocotoco Foundation for the conservation of the critically endangered Black-breasted Puffleg. It has an extension of more than 1000 hectares that maintain montane evergreen forest and Polylepis forest and paramo.


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