Andinoherps 2000: amphibians and reptiles of northern Ecuador

Nora Schultz

Project AndinoHerps is a cooperation between Oxford University and the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador – Sede Ibarra (PUCE-I). The primary aim is to collect baseline data on the herpetofauna of the High Andes of Northern Ecuador, about which very little is known to date. The information compiled will be used to assess the effects the rapidly proceeding habitat destruction of the threatened forest and paramo ecosystems has on the survival chances of the endemic herpetofauna of Northern Ecuador. By comparing species distribution within and between sites it will be possible to identify those species that depend more on pristine habitat than others and to recommend appropriate conservation steps. In addition, bird inventories will be made of previously unsurveyed areas. All baseline data obtained can be used to facilitate more general habitat monitoring because the taxa studied are good environmental indicators. AndinoHerps 2000 major contributions to the conservation of the High Andes of Northern Ecuador will consist of (i) facilitating management and monitoring of present and the choice of future reserves, and of (ii) drawing public attention to the threatened areas through a number of outputs: A final report and a comprehensive field guide to the amphibians and reptiles of the region will be produced within six months upon return from the field. Scientific results will be published in a suitable journal. The general public will be addressed via the media, using the contacts and background of the two journalistically experienced team members.