University Of Wales, Cardiff expedition to Ecuador 1991: Amazula ’91

Joe Tobias

The forest fragments remaining in south-western Ecuador are amongst the top 10 areas for bird conservation worldwide. Despite widespread degradation of habitat, 8 forested areas were located and studied. 427 bird species of which 12 were considered threatened. In addition, both botanical and macro-invertebrate surveys were conducted and plant collections donated to the herbariums at Loja, Quito and Dublin universities and the National Museum of Ecuador. Habitat descriptions and the food plants of 47 birds were identified. With the aid of 2 Ecuadorean counterparts questionnaires were used to assess local attitudes towards conservation and current land use practices.

Project update: 17/6/98. Amaluza ‘91 followed on from Amaluza ‘90 to survey the birds, macro-invertebrates and plants of forest remnants in south-west Ecuador. The small Angashcola Valley, first visited by the team in 1990, is now being protected by the local communities of Amaluza and Santa Teresita in association with Loja-based NGO Fundación Ecológica Arcoiris. It has the second highest birdlist of any site in the Andes above 2,500 m (J. Tobias in litt. 1998). Project recommendations for new reserves were taken up by the BP-sponsored Project Podocarpus ’95 (subsequently ‘the Sozoranga Forest Project’) in 1995.

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