Conservation, Regional Integration and Local Development in the Eastern Cordillera Real
Latin America/Caribbean > LAC General
Latin America/Caribbean > South America > Colombia
Latin America/Caribbean > South America > Ecuador
Latin America/Caribbean > South America > Peru
Led by Fundación Natura from Ecuador, and funded by the European Union, this project operates in 5 focal areas of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, with the participation of WWF Peru and WWF Colombia offices.
The project aims to strengthen the local capacities to manage the extraordinarily rich biodiversity of the Eastern Cordillera Real montane and Paramo ecoregions, to improve the representation of natural ecosystems in the protected area systems of the 3 countries, to promote regional integration of conservation initiatives, and to improve the livelihoods of local communities in the involved focal areas. The project is expected to reduce major threats affecting this vast region, such as those related to climate change and the implementation of large scale infrastructure projects. Beneficiaries of the project include indigenous and peasant communities, grassroot organizations and governmental authorities.
The Eastern Cordillera Real is a strategic area for Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, both because of its extraordinary biodiversity riches and also because its location at the crossroads between the Amazon, Andean and Pacific regions. Encompassing more than 9 million hectares, this ecoregion spans the western arc of the Amazon basin above 500 m of elevation, from southern Colombia to northern Peru. Its natural ecosystems and natural resources provide key environmental services for more than 1 million people, including a number of indigenous communities, rural settlers and small to medium sized urban centres. The mountain grasslands (páramos) and cloud forests of the Amazonian slopes of the Eastern Cordillera Real also contribute to the hydrologic regulation of major tributaries of the Amazon, thus providing drinking water, irrigation for agriculture and hydroelectric generation. The complex topography of these slopes, coupled with the regional climatic conditions and the biogeographic history of the western arc of the Amazon, determine the existence of 28 ecosystems which harbor the largest diversity of flowering plants, butterflies, amphibians, birds, and mammals in South America.
Because of the remoteness of this region and the difficulties of access, 75% of the natural cover of these mountains is still in place. However, the national systems of protected areas have wide gaps for the protection of the area, and the expansion of the agricultural frontier (including illicit crops), the implementation of large scale infrastructure projects within the framework of the Initiative for Regional Infrastructure Integration in South America (IIRSA), timber extraction, mining and oil exploitation are threatening the ecological integrity and the livelihoods of indigenous people.
Contribute to conservation and sustainable development in the Eastern Cordillera Real of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru within the framework of the commitments made by these countries to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Millenium Ecosystem Goals.
Strengthen local capacities to manage and protect biodiversity and the national systems of protected areas in the Eastern Cordillera Real montane forest and Paramo ecoregions by improving regional coordination, ecosystem integrity and local livelihoods.