About the project:
The Loja Municipal Conservation and Sustainable Use Area in the Ecuadorian Andes protects 73,701 hectares of tropical forest. Initiative 20x20 financial partner Andes Amazon Fund (AAF) and Nature and Culture International (NCI) joined forces with FORAGUA, a local municipal water fund, to safeguard this biodiverse ecosystem and ensure a clean and abundant water supply for 200,000 local people.
Located on the southeastern slopes of the Andes, Loja encompasses cloud and montane forests and paramo grasslands. Its vast landscape is home to thousands of species, from large mammals like the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) to small birds like the blue-throated hillstar hummingbird (Oreotrochilus cyanolaemus). Many are threatened and unique species – some of which are new to science.
The new area is next to Podocarpus National Park, renowned for its biological richness. Together, Loja and Podocarpus connect core habitats for these far-ranging species, which need large, unbroken territories to ensure their long-term survival.
By protecting the forests and grasslands, Loja protects primary forests from expanding agriculture, mining and other threats. It will also help prevent droughts and floods, both of which are becoming more common as climate change worsens. Over the coming years, FORAGUA will also invest in restoring some of area's degraded land.