The Nangaritza Valley in southern Ecuador holds the country’s densest concentration of biodiversity. Lush lowlands surrounded by cloud-covered mountains boast diverse habitats and unique wildlife. But human interests such as logging threaten the valley’s foothill forests. So this month, Rainforest Trust and partner Naturaleza y Cultura Internacional purchased 268 acres of rainforest to expand the Numbala Cloud Forest Reserve.
In 1982, the Ecuadorean government created Podocarpus National Park. But they excluded the forests of Numbala in the Nangaritza Valley. Since then, timber extraction and conversion of rainforest to pastureland have threatened the area. These pressures, along with a landowner unwilling to sell, made long-term protection in Numbala unlikely. Despite these ongoing challenges, Naturaleza y Cultura Internacional established the Numbala Cloud Forest Reserve next to the park in 2006. This private reserve plays a vital role in connecting some of the largest remaining intact forest blocks in the region.