Ecology of Pastaza, Ecuador
One of the best ways to witness firsthand the biodiversity of the Amazon region is to visit the Ecuadorian province of Pastaza and its capital city of Puyo. Pastaza is located only five hours from the capital city of Quito, and in the area one will find inexpensive opportunities to explore the natural environment.
The province of Pastaza is truly a wonder of biodiversity, being the largest province in Ecuador. Pastaza is classified as a humid tropical climate, with the majority of the province receiving more than 3500 mm of rainfall each year. The combination of the tropical climate, the location along the Equator, as well as the elevational gradient at the base of the Andes Mountains, makes Pastaza one of the richest areas in the world in terms of biodiversity. Nevertheless, it is crucial to remember that the fragility of the tropical Amazonian forests is under constant threats of deforestation for cattle ranching, agricultural use, and oil development.
Pastaza is situated in the watershed of the Pastaza River, one of the major tributaries of the Amazon and joining the Amazon River shortly after it crosses the Ecuadorian border into Peru. The Amazon is the largest river in the world, at approximately 6437 km or 4000 miles in length from its headwaters near Machu Picchu Peru to its mouth in Brazil at the Atlantic Ocean. Many of the indigenous communities located in the remote interior of the province are working with local, national, and international NGO’s and organizations to protect the biodiversity of their ancestral lands. Various types of ecological reserves, public and private, are located throughout the province of Pastaza.
Organizations working to protect the biodiversity of the Ecuadorian Amazon:
These organizations are leaders in the conservation field in Pastaza; most are open to tourists to visit, as well as being open to volunteers willing to stay longer to help out and work. Additionally, Puyo has information centers which offer free tourist information to help tourists learn more about environmental protection in the region.
More facts about the biodiversity of Ecuador:
Ecuador has approximately 450 species of amphibians, more than all of North America, and in Pastaza alone there are 70 species of amphibians and 35 species of reptiles, one of the highest levels in all of the Amazon region.
More than 45% of all of the mammals of the Amazon can be found in Pastaza, while there are still hundreds of kilometers unstudied by scientists.
Approximately 1600 species of birds can be found in Ecuador, and more than half of these live in the Amazon region of the country.