Chocó-Andino Model Forest Aiming for Biosphere Reserve Status

Man & BiospherePartners in Ecuador’s Chocó-Andino Model Forest are working to get the landscape they represent designated a Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO’s ‘Man and the Biosphere’ program.

Covering 124,296 hectares and located in Pichincha province, northwest of the capital city of Quito, the Chocó-Andino Model Forest is home to about 18,000 people. It became a member of the International Model Forest Network in March of 2016.

“We are looking at widening the governance platform to increase our capacity for conservation and restoration on the landscape to fortify landscape planning and the level of forest protection,” said Chocó-Andino Model Forest Manager, Inty Arcos. “In our case, it is very similar to the work we do as a Model Forest.”

The proposed biosphere reserve totals 286,805 hectares and is located in a prime hotspot of the tropical Andes representing a vast diversity of fauna and flora, including the endemic Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) categorized as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

With much work still ahead to achieve designation, Arcos estimates that biosphere reserve status could be obtained by September 2018. Ecuador is already home to the Sumaco and Yasuni Biosphere Reserves, as well as the Archipélago de Colón Reserve, part of the Galápagos Islands.

Published 11 December 2017