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Making Space for our Animal Relatives

The forests of the Amazonian headwaters just East of the Andes (where Iyarina is located) are the most biodiverse region in the world.  Their rich aluvial soil is volcanic ash washed down from the Andes where rapidly descending altitude gradations create distinct micro climates in close proximity to each other.   This forest is simultaneously the best preserved but also the most threatened.  It is now undergoing the regions highest rates of deforestation.   This is because until recently it was protected by geography.  The steep rise of the Andes prevented access from the west while white water rapids served as a barrier to access from the East.  Until 1960 outsiders avoided the area for fear of being speared by un-contacted Waorani




Ecuador has greater biodiversity per unit of land than any other Amazonian country:   
10% of the world’s vascular plants: 
some 25,000 species have been identified
Upper Napo river basin is one of Amazonia’s richest: 4,000+ species
Quichua utilize over 400 species of plants.

Mammal species in Ecuador:  324

Percentage of these that are bats:  40%

Monkey species: 15

Feline (Jaguar, Puma, Ocelot, margay, Oncilla, and Jaguarundi): 6

Bear (spectacled bear): 1

Bird species in Napo/Orellana: 1067


Tree biodiversity is 20 times greater than deciduous forest of North America


North American deciduous forest. 8–15

Amazonian Ecuador 200–240

Amazonian Ecuador (Maximum)  300+

  (Balslev et al., 1987; Korning et al., 1991; Cerón & Montalvo, 1997; Palacios, 1997) and in one case over 300 species (Valencia et al., 1994, 1997; Balslev et al., 1998)

The maximum number of species per hectare was found by Alwyn Gentry less than 10 miles from the Iyarina forest.

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"Sustainability Assessment of Smallholder Agroforestry Indigenous Farming in the Amazon:A Case Study of Ecuadorian Kichwas,"

Marco Heredia-R, Bolier Torres, Jhenny Cayambe, Nadia RamosMarcelo Luna and Carlos G. H. Diaz-Ambrona,  Agronomy15 December 2020.


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