Canopies, Climate, and Critters of the Ecuadorian Rainforest

Climate Change

Canopies, Climate, and Critters of the Ecuadorian Rainforest

How many species of plants and animals make their home in the magnificent rainforests of the Ecuadorian Andes?

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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

The Ecuadorian Andes is one of the top 25 biodiversity hotspots worldwide.

Continuing deforestation and climate change threaten the incredibly diverse plants and animals of the Ecuadorian Andes.

The western slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. Of all the species of plants in the world, 6.7% are endemic to this region (that is, they are found nowhere else), as are 5.7% of the world’s vertebrate species. Ecuador is home to some 1,600 bird species (about twice as many as in North America, Europe, or Australia). This astonishing diversity and the fact that more than 70% of the original habitat has been lost earned the Ecuadorian Andes a place among the top 25 biodiversity hotspots worldwide.

Tarantula, Ecuador

Volunteers surveyed the astounding biodiversity of a tropical Ecuador rainforest.

The Santa Lucía Cloud Forest Reserve, where this research took place, is at the center of the Choco-Andean corridor, a protected area that was set up to link critical tropical Ecuador forests with the forests of Colombia. Scientists worked to determine if wildlife uses this corridor effectively. This monitoring program provided crucial information for reserve and corridor management and insight into the impacts of climate change on species distribution and forest dynamics.

About the research area

Santa Lucia Reserve, Ecuador, South America

Daily life in the field


This is a summary:

The Scientists


Lecturer and Research Fellow, University of Sussex

ABOUT Mika Peck

Earthwatch scientist Dr. Mika Peck studies the impact of human activity on the rainforest of the Ecuadorian Andes, a biodiversity hotspot.



Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food


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