Conservation of four highly threatened Ecuadorian tree species from the Chocó

Conservation of four highly threatened Ecuadorian tree species from the Chocó

Permanent protection of four highly threatened tree species from the Chocó and increase of their population size through targeted conservation activities

Partner: Jocotoco Conservation Fund
Years: 2020-2023

This project aims at protecting and restoring the population of four Endangered and Critically Endangered species found within and in the surroundings of Canandé Reserve (Magnolia canandeana, CR; Magnolia dixonii, CR; Ecuadendron acosta-solisianum, EN; and Matisia palenquiana, EN) by monitoring their presence and population size, collecting seeds of mature individuals for regeneration in pastures inside the reserve and further down the line increasing the size of Canandé Reserve by purchasing priority areas for the target species.

Magnolia canandeana (CR)

The Chocó is one of the five most threatened biodiversity hotspots globally. It is floristically the most diverse region in the Western Hemisphere, yet highly threatened with annual deforestation rates of 2.5%. The Canandé Reserve protects part of one of the last remnants of Chocó lowland rainforest on 7’260 hectares. The reserve and its surroundings are the only site where Magnolia canandeana (CR; 16 individuals known) and Magnolia dixonii (CR; 42 individuals known) survive. Approximately 230 mature individuals of Ecuadendron acosta-solisianum (EN) have also been identified and the presence of Matisia palenquiana (EN) was confirmed.

This project aims to protect and increase the population size of all four species. Specifically, botanists will train park guards to identify the species and then they will monitor the presence and populations size of all four species on yet unprotected land outside the reserve. This activity will allow to collect at least 1’000 seeds to reforest all four species in enrichment plantings on regenerating pastures within the Canandé Reserve. The project will also result in the expansion of Canandé Reserve (200 hectares of land) by buying priority areas for the conservation of the four species targeted.