Semi-humid and cloud forest
Biodiversity and carbon (stacked)
Buenaventura Reserve has already successfully restored 675,000 trees, with impressive forest now found where none existed 40 years ago. However, to date this has been limited in scope and this project aims to expand the scale of this initiative. The reserve contains transitional semi-humid forest and cloud forest across an altitudinal gradient, with 24% of the land degraded but reforestable. As with altitudinal ecosystems worldwide, the reserve’s biodiversity is being severely impacted by climate change. Higher temperatures result in clouds and humidity shifting upslope, altering the distribution of many species. Within Buenaventura, vegetation communities have been shown to have shifted hundreds of metres, the endangered El Oro Parakeet’s distribution has changed from 600-1200m in the 1980s to 900-1800m now, and the El Oro Tapaculo is shifting upwards by 100m per decade.
This project therefore aims to restore natural forest at higher elevations, to create habitat where species can move to as their distribution responds to climate change. These “forests of tomorrow” would require more land to be protected and connected and ultimately involve 750,000 trees of 50 native species to be planted. This vital new habitat is essential to protect the reserve’s impressive biodiversity, which includes 15 globally threatened bird species, the last remaining refuge for 14 amphibian and reptiles, two birds and at least five plant species. It is also home to many unique species with approximately 35% of plants being endemic to the region.
The project could be scaled to nearby communities to create an even more ambitious forested corridor to connect to another Jocotoco Reserve, thereby protecting the entire gradient of ecosystems along the Andes.