The Chocoan Rainforests

Incredible diversity threatened by thirst for palm oil


What and where

Snaking its way from Panama, through Colombia and down to Northern Ecuador, the Chocó is one of the last coastal tropical rainforests on Earth. The Chocoan Rainforests still hide thousands of undiscovered plants and animals, and acres of ancient forests and shorelines.

Why?
The Chocó biogeographic region (the Chocó) is globally recognized as one of the world's most biologically and culturally diverse. It provides habitat to an extraordinary wealth of plant and animal species. Cut off from the Amazon by the Andes mountains, a whole range of new species emerged, many of which are endemic to the region. It is home to more than 11,000 species of vascular plants and 900 species of birds. BirdLife International recognizes 4 distinct endemic bird areas within this area.

There are approximately 350 species of amphibians, including 210 endemics, and 210 species of reptiles, of which 63 are endemic.

The Chocó forests are being destroyed by deforestation and palm oil expansion. Even before the current palm oil and agrofuel expansion, 66% had been destroyed. Large scale development plans and the impending completion of the Pan American Highway threaten the very existence of the Choco and the lives of the indigenous communities who live along the banks of its maze of rivers.
The Chocó Biogeographic rainforest is considered one of the richest places in biodiversity. / ©: WWF-Canon / Diego M. GARCES
Anchicayá river, Buenaventura, Chocó Biogeographic. The Chocó Biogeographic rainforest is considered one of the richest sites of biodiversity.
© WWF-Canon / Diego M. GARCES

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