Mangroves in Arenillas Municipal Conservation Area. Photo Credit: Daniel Sanmartín/Fundación Naturaleza y Cultura EcuadorEnvironment Ecuador
Good News for Our Ecosystem: New Conservation Area Comes to Life
A new conservation area located on the southern coast of Ecuador has been established to protect dry forests and mangroves, as well as water sources for inhabitants and precious ecosystems to many threatened species.
“It is an ideal moment to support and join the citizen movement to conserve and protect [natural resources, especially water sources],” says Luis López of the NGO Nature and Culture International.
The Municipal Conservation and Sustainable Use Area of Arenillas spans 15,171 hectares and has been divided into three blocks. The first spans 14,290 hectares where drinking water is stored for the 55,000 inhabitants of Arenillas and Huaquilas. It is also where dry forest – one of Ecuador’s most threatened ecosystems – is protected since it is home to a great diversity of plants and animals. The second block covers 862 hectares near the coast to protect the remnants of mangroves so crucial not only as a natural protective barrier but for the subsistence collection of mollusks and crabs. The third block protects the 18-hectare Balsal Lagoon used for ecotourism and sustainable development projects. Within the Conservation Area live 156 species of birds – many in danger of extinction including the grey-cheeked parakeet and the slaty becard – 14 mammal species, seven types of reptiles, and threatened flora like the guayacán, ceibo, palo santo, laurel, guachapeli, and fernan sanchez trees.