The advance of mining threatens the flora and fauna of Ecuadorian Chocó

The Ecuadorian Chocó, one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet, continues to be threatened by the reactivation of mining projects. Pollution, hydroelectric power stations or hunting are other problems he continues to face.

Located in the northwest of Ecuador, between the province of Esmeraldas, the western foothills of Carchi, Imbabura and part of Pichincha, it is a region that integrates the Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena hotspot, considered as an area world conservation priority of 274,597 kilometers. square that extends from southern Panama, crosses the western parts of Colombia and Ecuador and reaches northern Peru.

According to information from the Mongabay portal, the Chocó biogeographic region is distinguished between Colombian Chocó and Ecuadorian Chocó, and is known as one of the areas with the greatest biological diversity on the planet, with 9,000 plant species (25% endemic ), 830 birds (10.2% endemic), 235 mammals (25.5% endemic) and 350 amphibians (60% endemic).

Ecuadorian Chocó, a place rich in biodiversity

According to a report published in 2019 by the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP), the Ecuadorian Chocó recorded a 61% loss of forest. This threatens the livelihoods of communities and ecosystems, generating environmental problems and effects on the health of people who, for example, could come into contact with residual chemicals from illegal mining.

The Chocó Andino de Pichincha is one of the areas richest in biodiversity. It was declared by Unesco as Ecuador’s seventh biosphere reserve on July 25, 2018. With this, the country has become one of the 17 mega-universe countries in the world.

In June 2020, representatives of the region denounced that mining projects threatened their biological wealth and indigenous communities.

According to data from the Ministry of Tourism, this reserve has an area of ​​286,805,534 hectares, which represents 30.31% of the territory of the province of Pichincha between Quito, San Miguel de los Bancos and Pedro Vicente Maldonado, between the heights of 360 and 4,480 meters above sea level.

About 880,000 people live in the area, mainly dedicated to agricultural production and tourism activities that help to strengthen the conservation of the ecosystem.

According to the report of the provincial government of Pichincha, published on the web portal in May 2019, the Chocó Andino de Pichincha is home to 12 types of forests, some virgin and pristine.

Four climatic classifications and a diverse productive landscape were also recorded. In this there are six forest reserves from Tandayapa to Puerto Quito. “Each hectare of its forests is capable of absorbing 250 tonnes of carbon, renewing the air we breathe. For every hectare of forest, there are around 300 different tree species, ”he describes.

In addition, these forests protect 400,000 people from the risk of flooding and massive land movement, and depend on their existence for productive tourism and herding activities that provide food security and recreation.

Regarding wildlife, there are 30 large species such as olingos, tigrils, red and white foxes, deer and spectacle eyes, 214 species of mammals and 2814 bird records.

Regarding flora, it is home to 78.4% of all plant species in Ecuador. 2.5% is endemic flora, of which 76 types are on the endangered species list. It also has 1,960 species of plants and a hundred varieties of orchids.