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New report reveals northern Ecuadorian region has lost 61 percent of forests

04 / 09 / 2019, Mongabaycom News

Spanning nearly 3 million hectares (7.4 million acres) along the coast, Ecuador’s Chocó region is known as a biodiversity hotspot with high levels of endemism, among the richest region for plants in the western hemisphere. However, this ecosystem is also one of the most threatened in the world. In Ecuador, it has been one of the most affected by deforestation in recent decades. A recent analysis by the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP), an initiative of the organization Conservación Amazónica (ACCA), reveals just how much forest has been lost. Overall, 61 percent (1.8 million hectares, or 4.4 million acres) of the Ecuadoran Chocó has been deforested; one-fifth of that loss (365,000 hectares, or 902,000 acres) occurred between 2000 and 2018. The threats are many. According to Carmen Josse, scientific director of Fundación EcoCiencia, in Ecuador, these include industrial oil palm plantations as well as legal and illegal logging and mining. “In the highland areas, on the border of the Cotacachi-Cayapas Reserve, above 1,000 meters [3,300 feet], we are talking about very large mining concessions that have caused controversy among the local population, one of them in the Intag region, very close to the border of the Cotacachi-Cayapas Reserve. A few weeks ago, it was announced that abundant reserves of various high-quality minerals existed in this area.” Endangered forests and the Mache-Chindul Reserve Ecuadoran Chocó lowland forest experienced the lion’s share of deforestation, losing 68 percent (1.2 million hectares, or 3 million acres) of its forest cover by 2018. Middle-…

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