Status and Trends of Biodiversity
Ecuador is one of the world’s “megadiverse” countries. It is divided into 4 well-defined geographical zones: the coast, the mountain range, the eastern divide and the Galapagos Islands. Ecuador possesses 26 distinguished habitat types, each one with characteristic flora related to altitude and precipitation. Among these are three of the world’s 10 biodiversity “hot spots,” which correspond to managed areas having high floral and faunal diversity: the humid forests of the northwest, the outside faces of the mountain range and the Amazon forests of the northeast. Species representation among taxa is as follows: 21,000 plants, 402 amphibians, 407 reptiles (100 endemics), 706 fish, 1,559 birds (37 endemics) and 324 mammals (21 endemics). Several threats to biodiversity include: deforestation, firewood collection, urban expansion, petroleum exploration and exploitation, agriculture, mining, fishing, overexploitation of natural resources, poverty and human migrations.
Number and Extent of Protected Areas
The National Protected Areas System accounts for about 16% of the national territory, covering 4,392,514ha in 22 areas.
Percentage of Forest Cover
The total forest cover is about 11,551,000ha, of which 11,473,000ha are natural forest and 78,000ha are plantations, and represents 42% of the total national surface area.