The Annotated Ramsar List: Ecuador
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The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance
ECUADOR / EQUATEUR
The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Ecuador on 7 January 1991. Ecuador presently has 18 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 286,651 hectares.
site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas
Abras de Mantequilla. 14/03/00. Los Ríos. 22,500 ha. 01º28’S 79º45’W. A natural permanent swampy lagoon-lake system. The wetland plays an important role in the conservation of bird fauna biodiversity by supporting 3 migratory species: Anas discours, Chordeiles minor spp. and Catharus ustulatus; 3 rare species and 8 endemic species, including Furnarious cinnamomeus, Veniliornis callonotus callonotus, Galucidium peruanum and Turdus maculirostris. It also supports a significant population of indigenous fish and at the same time is a source of food, a spawning site and a development area for those species of fish that depend upon the wetland. However, over-exploitation of water resources combined with the introduction of tilapia for fish-farming are resulting in a dramatic decline of the populations of indigenous species, not only in Abras, but in all coastal area watercourses. An assessment of the current state of the wetland is foreseen and should serve as a basis for development of a management plan for the area. Ramsar site no. 1023. Most recent RIS information: 2000.
Complejo de Humedales Ñucanchi Turupamba.05/06/06; Napo, Pichincha; 12,290 ha; 00º16'S 078º09'W. The Ñucanchi Turupamba wetland complex performs an important hydrological function by recharging aquifers, filtering water and regulating the water level of the adjacent peatlands. It also hosts endangered species such as the CITES Appendix I spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) and the andean condor (Vultur gryphus). The site constitutes an important nesting and breeding ground for numerous waterfowl species. A number of water storage areas have been built within the site for water treatment, irrigation and to generate electricity for approximately 1,500,000 people. Ramsar site No. 1625.Most recent RIS information: 2006.
Complejo Llanganati. 25/06/08; 30,355 ha; Tungurahua, Cotopaxi ; 01°06’S 078º21’W. Parque Nacional. A complex of lagoons of glacial origin, situated between 2,960m and 4,571m a.s.l. and fed by rivers and seasonal floods, as well as swamps and extended peatlands associated with different types of vegetation, which gives them particular characteristics. They are an important source of water for the nearest populated areas. It is habitat to more than 14 flora species found in the IUCN Red List, such as Draba aretiodes, Siphocampylus asplundii, Gentianella jamesonii which are endangered, as well as others which are categorized as vulnerable. The complex belongs to the Tropical Andes Hotspot, said to be the richest and most biodiverse region of the planet, which includes a sixth of the plants of the Earth in 1% of the territory. It holds a number of endemic flora and fauna species, as well as migratory birds. The site is listed under IUCN Management Category II (National Park) and became a BirdLife International ‘Important Bird Area’ in 2005. Ramsar site no. 1780. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Humedales del Sur de Isabela.17/09/02. Galápagos.872 ha. 00°57'S 090°58'W. National Park. An area of coastal (359 ha) and marine (513 ha) wetlands, including the Poza de Los Diablos and other small ponds as well as the beaches, mangroves, and shallow marine waters of the Bahía de Puerto Villamil on Isabel, the largest of the Galápagos islands. An extremely rich area in terms of its biodiversity, the site, on islands of recent volcanic formation, has a high number of endemic species, many of which are listed as vulnerable or endangered in the IUCN Red List: the Lava gull (Larus fuliginosus), for example, the Galapagos penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) and Galapagos sea lion (Zalophus californianus wollebacki), the Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) and Green sea urchin (Lytechinus semituberculatus), the marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) and the sea cucumber (Stichopus fuscus). Moreover, the site sustains more than 22.5% of the endemic subspecies Galapagos flamingo and significant proportions of a number of native fish species. Nearly all of the site falls within the Parque Nacional Galápagos, and human uses include tourism, non-commercial fishing among the local population, and the raising of such introduced mammals as goats, pigs, and cattle. The potential proliferation of introduced species, particularly of rats, cats, the African kikuyu grasss, and the invasive tree frog Scinax quinquefasciata since 1998 (the first amphibians in the islands), is noted as a cause for concern. Ramsar site no. 1202. Most recent RIS information: 2002.
Isla Santay.31/10/00. Guayas. 4,705 ha. 02º13'S 079º51'W. Located in the delta of the Guayas River near the urban perimeter of the city of Guayaquil. The Isla Santay site (2200ha for the island itself and about 2505ha for surrounding waters) is characterized by halophytic vegetation that is influenced by tides and seasonal changes throughout the year (Ramsar Type "I", Intertidal forested wetlands, including mangrove swamps, etc.). Despite being a highly altered area, it provides refuge for a great number of species and conserves a great biological diversity due to its location in the ecotone region, and the site qualifies for the Ramsar List under all three of the biodiversity Criteria and both of the fish Criteria. It is probably the only known nesting area for the endangered Amazona autumnalis. The island is inhabited by 182 residents who practice fishing, traditional agriculture, and livestock raising on a sustainable level, but threats from continuing urban development have been noted. Ramsar site no. 1041. Most recent RIS information: 2000.
La Segua.07/06/00; Manabí; 1,836 ha; 00º42’S 080º12’W. A freshwater wetland located in the confluence of the rivers Carrizal and Chone, consisting of a central marsh that is flooded most of the time and an extensive plain that is inundated in the rainy season. Its soils are loam sandy, silt and/or clay-silt, deep with recent fine fluvial sediment deposits. The water is of medium quality, with presence of fecal coliforms and total solids, with a low percentage of dissolved oxygen. The wetland has a low diversity of organisms, but a high density of 12 species of fish, two species of river shrimp, turtles of the genus Chelydra and 164 species of birds (22 migratory species and 63 aquatic ones). 27 families and 39 species of wild vegetation represent the flora. During the rainy season, the aquatic plants are dominant, especially "the lechuguines" (Eichhornia crassipes, water hyacinth); the depth of the marsh can reach an average of 1.27 m. During the dry season, the flooded plain is full of grasses and sedges and the water body is reduced to approximately 525 hectares, with an average depth of 67 cm. Four towns are located around the marsh with an estimated population of 1700 people, and the main land uses within the wetland are fishing, ranching and agriculture. The site has a management plan developed with the support of the IUCN Oficina Regional para América del Sur, UNEP, and the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID). Ramsar site no. 1028. Most recent RIS information: 2000.
La Tembladera. 06/12/11; El Oro; 1,471 ha; 03°30'14"S 079°59'46"W. Comprising a permanent lagoon and its surrounding inundated areas located in the Tumbesian Endemic Bird Area, the site sustains at least 24 endemic bird species such as the Ecuadorian ground-dove (Columbina buckleyi) and the Pacific Parrotlet (Forpus coelestis), as well as IUCN Red-Listed Endangered and Vulnerable species such as the Grey-Cheeked parakeet (Brotogeris pyrrhoptera) and the Rufous-headed Chachalaca (Ortalis erythroptera). The lagoon provides water to irrigation systems for agriculture and livestock in the surrounding area, and supports small-scale fishing. The threats to the site include pollution and habitat destruction by the expansion of agricultural and livestock activities operating within the wetland, which will be addressed through the implementation of the management plan. Ramsar Site no. 1991. Most recent RIS information: 2011.
Laguna de Cube. 02/02/02; Esmeraldas; 113 ha; 00°24'N 079°39' W. Ecological Reserve. A permanent lake at the southeastern edge of the Mache-Chindul mountains in the Chaco biogeographical region, characterized by a lacustrine ecosystem consisting of permanent body of water and an extensive surface of marsh and flood areas. It is the country's only inland wetland in the coastal mountains, at 350m altitude, and supports a singular biotic community characteristic of both the Chaco and the Andes. The site is located in a large dale surrounded by hills of natural and seminatural landscape, with open, lightly wooded fields in the lower parts and more and less dense woodlands higher up. Small areas of subsistence pasturage and agriculture are found around the lake. Some 23 species of mammals, 40 of birds, and 11 of reptiles are found there, and three of its vertebrate species are found in the CITES Appendix II. An important group of settlements along the shores have taken the decision to manage the wetland in such a way as to ensure its conservation, and the lake is part of the Ecological Reserve Mache-Chindul. The Fundación Natura and the Ministry of Environment have compiled the technical datasheets for the site designation with the support of the WWF Living Waters Programme, as with the management plan. Ramsar site no. 1143. Most recent RIS information: 2002.
Manglares Churute. 07/09/90; Guayas; 35,042 ha; 02º28’S 079º42’W. Ecological Reserve. The site consists of mangrove forest along river estuaries, bordered by scrub bushlands of salt tolerant species, and includes a lagoon with rich aquatic vegetation and associated marsh. A rich fauna is supported, including notable species of mammals, reptiles and birds. Human activities include environmental education, recreation, low-intensity grazing, subsistence farming, and intensive shrimp farming. The area has great potential for the development of ecotourism. Ramsar site no. 502. Most recent RIS information: 1998.
Manglares del Estuario Interior del Golfo de Guayaquil "Don Goyo". 02/02/2013; Guayas; 15,337 ha; 02°24'17"S 079°55'50"W. Mainly constituted by mangrove forests, the site is important for the control and prevention of flooding and climate regulation. According to the National Red List, it supports several endangered species, like the Rufous-necked Wood Rail Aramides axillaris and the Red-lored Amazon Amazona autumnali. There are recent records of Crocodylus acutus presence, which according to the National Red List of Reptiles is Critically Endangered. A great number of endemic species can be found, like the Ecuadorian Ground Dove (Columbina buckleyi), the Pacific Parrotlet (Forpus coelestis), the Red-masked Parakeet (Aratinga erythrogenys), and the Pacific Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium peruanum). Waterbird species like the killdeer (Charadrius vociferus), the Franklin's Gull (Larus pipixcan), and the Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla) are present, and the site has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA). Ramsar Site no. 2098. Most recent RIS information: 2012.
Parque Nacional Cajas.14/08/02. Azuay. 29,477 ha. 02º50'N, 079º14'W. National Park. A mountainous system of exceptional characteristics, the Cajas National Park includes over 300 bodies of water. In the Lagunas del Cajas area, this sui generis type of high-Andean wetland is found at the closest point between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The site is distinguished because of its unparalleled scenic beauty, its archaeological remains of ancient Andean cultures, and its highly vulnerable endemic flora. Additionally, it has been identified as a key bird conservation area within Ecuador, as well as an important transit point for migratory species. Notable vulnerable species in the site include spectacled (Andean) bears (Tramarctos ornatus), Andean condors (Vultur gryphus), as well as threatened plant species Podocarpus spucey and Polylepis sp. Administrative authority of the National Park has been transferred from the Ministry of Environment to the local municipality in a process of de-centralization that will attempt to strengthen the management of this one of a kind ecosystem. Ramsar site No. 1203.Most recent RIS information: 2002.
Refugio de Vida Silvestre Isla Santa Clara. 02/02/02; El Oro; 46 ha; 03º10'S 080º 26'W. Protected Area of Natural Heritage. A small island with rocky shores in the Gulf of Guayaquil, forming a complex transitional marine/coastal system situated in an area of convergence of marine currents and the fresh water of the Gulf, an important area of mixed and transitional biogeographical characterics. The island is an undeveloped area of extraordinary importance for the conservation of waterbirds and constitutes a major refuge for the marine biodiversity of the continental coast of the country, for which reason it was inscribed as a Protected Area of Natural Heritage in 1999. Its outstanding feature is the large-scale presence of avifauna, 23,000 individuals of the species Fragatas or Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens), Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis), and Blue-footed Booby Sula nebouxi. The site holds exceptional social and cultural value and is considered from archaeological artifacts to be an early refuge of the first inhabitants of the larger Isla Puná, and a point of reference for navigators since the prehistoric era. It provides a unique opportunity for scientific investigations of marine-terrestrial ecosystems. Artisanal and industrial fishing are supported in the area. The Fundación Natura and the Ministry of Environment have compiled the technical datasheets for the site designation with the support of the WWF Living Waters Programme. Ramsar site no. 1142. Most recent RIS information: 2002.
Reserva Biológica Limoncocha. 10/07/98; Sucumbíos; 4,613 ha; 00º25’S 076º35’W. The site comprises seasonally flooded forest and permanent and seasonally flooded swamps, while the area surrounding the lagoon is predominantly wet tropical forest. The area has abundant species of flora, 41 species of fish, and 464 bird species, of which 68 are waterbirds with important populations. The forest surrounding the lagoon has eight primate species. There is a community of indigenous people along the banks of the Jivino River, which is very rich in fish stocks. Subsistence farming, mostly banana cultivation, is practiced, and small areas are used for animal grazing. The Limoncocha lagoon is the main tourism attraction in the reserve area and facilities are being developed for ecotourism. Ramsar site no. 956. Most recent RIS information: 1998.
Reserva Ecológica de Manglares Cayapas-Mataje.12/06/03; Esmeralda; 44,847 ha; 01º16'N, 079º00'W). Nature Reserve. Located on the Pacific coast near the border with Colombia, between the rivers Cayapas and Mataje, the site is a complex of estuaries and mangrove forests within the Choco-Darien-Western Ecuador hotspot, a region recognized worldwide for its high level of biodiversity, numerous endemic species, and priority for conservation. Sedge marshes, tidal brackish marshes, peatlands or guandales, as well as humid tropical forest add to its richness. The high productivity of phytoplankton and mangrove forests sustains a diverse wildlife, with reportedly 6 species of mangrove, 68 of fish, 22 of reptiles, 145 of birds and 53 of mammals, including several threatened taxa at national or global scale, such as the black mangrove Avicennia germinans, the Neotropical Otter Lutra longicaudis, the Jaguar Panthera onca, the Blue-fronted Parrotlet Touit dilectissima and the American Crocodile Crocodylus acutus. The Afro-Ecuadorian population at the site is involved in fishing, gathering of mussels and crustaceans, subsistence agriculture and livestock raising, and recently, ecotourism. Archaeological remains of the Tolita culture (ca. 500 BC-AD 400) are abundant. The area has been affected by the construction of numerous shrimp pools and the establishment of crop plantations. Following designation as a Nature Reserve in 1996, a management plan is in preparation with local involvement. WWF International's Living Waters Programme and the Fundación Natura assisted Ecuador in making this designation. Ramsar site No. 1292. Most recent RIS information: 2003.
Reserva Ecológica El Ángel (REEA). 07/12/2012; Carchi; 17,003 ha; 00º43'51"N 077º56'43"W. National Protected Area. One of the few sites in Ecuador that protects healthy mountain ecosystems (paramo, bogs, lagoons and forests), it plays an important role in the hydrological cycle of the region, since it is the source of several rivers that benefit directly human populations. The threatened fauna species that can be found in the site include Ecuadorian grass mouse (Akodon latebricola), the andean ondor (Vultur gryphus), the Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus), and some regional herpetofauna, like Centrolene buckleyi, Gastrotheca espeletia, Eleutherodactylus ocreatus, Eleutherodactylus grp. Devillei, and Riama simoterus. Due to its location on the high occidental Andean mountain range (at 3,200-4,200m altitude) and the north occidental zone of Ecuador, it is a strategic area for the linkage of two biodiversity hotspots (Hotspot Tropical Andes and Hotspot Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena), and it is thus also an important site for neotropical bird conservation. All the biodiversity supported by the site is pressured by the advance of agricultural frontiers, burning, hunting, fishing, climate and hydrological changes. Ramsar Site no. 2085. Most recent RIS information: 2012.
Sistema Lacustre Lagunas del Compadre. 15/12/2012; Loja, Zamora Chinchipe; 23,952 ha; 04º12'26"S 079º06'10"W. National Park, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. A lake system formed by 50 glacial lagoons located in the central portion of the National Park Podocarpus. The site is source of some rivers of local importance, as well as of the bi-national basin Catamayo-Chira and the Zamora basin. This type of lagoon system and its vegetation can be found exclusively in the southern part Ecuador and the immediate Peruvian Andean region. This high Andean region has the highest index of mammalian endemism in the country, particularly the Tapirus pinchaque and Tremarctos ornatus. The avifauna of the site is represented by Andean species adapted to high altitudes. Among others, there are some relevant species that are also considered in the IUCN Red List, such as Buthraupis wetmorei, Doliornis remseni, Neblina Metaltail (Metallura odomae), Coeligena iris, Montain Caracara (Phalcoboenus megalopterus), and migratory boreal birds like the Baird's Sandpiper (Calidris bairdii). The Ramsar Site is part of the nucleus zone of the Podocarpus-El Cóndor UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (2007). Ramsar Site no. 2086. Most recent RIS information: 2012.
Sistema Lacustre Yacuri. 15/12/2012; Loja, Zamora Chinchipe; 27, 762 ha. 04º38'27"S 079º21'12"W. National Park, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. A lake system is formed by 48 glacial lagoons that are mainly located in the southern part of the National Park Yacuri and continue into the Peruvian Andean region. The site is associated with unique paramo ecosystems formed by elfin forests, bamboo areas, shrubs and grasslands. Together with other high mountain ecosystems, it supports many threatened species, such as Tremarctos ornatus, Tapirus pinchaque, Puma concolor and Pudu mephistophiles. Its ecological peculiarities permit it to host a paramo vegetation that is unique to the region. These ecosystems provide shelter to a wide range of endemic species threatened by the continuous habitat loss in the region, such as Penelope barbata, Leptosittaca branickii, Hapalopsittaca pyrrhops and Doliornis remseni; it also supports endemic vegetation like Baleriana aretioides and Neurolepis nana. The Ramsar Site is part of the nucleus zone of the UNESCO Podocarpus-El Cóndor Biosphere Reserve Podocarpus-El Cóndor. Ramsar Site no. 2087. Most recent RIS information: 2012.
Zona Marina Parque Nacional Machalilla.07/09/90; Manabí; 14,430 ha; 01º00’S 080º45’W. National Park. A complex of shallow coastal waters, sandy beaches and off-shore islands fringed by coral reefs. The site includes the mouths of several seasonal rivers and streams and remnant dry tropical forest. Archaeologically interesting with evidence of civilizations dating from 3,000 B.C. to 1526 A.D. The area supports an important fishery, provides habitat for a breeding colony of seabirds, and nesting beaches for marine turtles. Human activities include subsistence agriculture, livestock raising, and tree harvesting for firewood and charcoal. Ramsar site no. 503. Most recent RIS information: 1997.