Within the last several months, Ecuador has had a breakthrough in protecting marine reserves that will go a long way towards improving biodiversity conservation in the country and providing benefits for human well-being. It is the latest step in Ecuador’s forward-looking environmental policy.
The three areas are as follows:
- Reserva Marina Galera-San Francisco – Totaling 54,604 hectares (134,000 acres), this reserve is on the coast of the Tumbes-Choco-Magdalena hotspot, within the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape.
- Refugio de Vida Silvestre Pacoche – Totaling 13,545 hectares (32,000 acres), of which 5,045 hectares are tropical dry forest and 8,500 are coastal and marine ecosystems.
- Reserva de Produccion Faunstica Puntilla de Santa Elena – Totaling 47,447 hectares (116,000 acres), of which 47,274 hectares are coastal and marine and 173 are terrestrial
Both the Refugio de Pacoche and the Reserva de Santa Elena are crucial for linking terrestrial ecosystems of the Tumbes-Choco-Magdalena hotspot with marine and coastal ecosystems of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape, and cover some of the most important terrestrial and coastal ecosystems.
CI-Ecuador will continue its commitment to these protected areas, with respect to the development of management plans and the implementation of priority management activities.
LEARN MORE: Explore what CI and its partners are doing in Ecuador to help conserve forests, oceans and species.
The Galera-San Francisco’s marine area was identified as one of the most important zones for biodiversity conservation on the coast of mainland Ecuador.
A study requested by the Ministry of the Environment to determine the future establishment of a National System of Marine Protected Areas to fulfill commitments with the Convention on Biological Diversity prioritized this area for protection.
The creation of a marine protected area in Galera-San Francisco will contribute to conserve the marine biodiversity of this outstanding area by promoting sustainable fishing practices and ecosystem-based resource use approaches.
The result of the implementation of these practices and approaches by fishermen and other coastal dwellers will result in improved socioeconomic conditions for the local communities.
IN DEPTH: Find out what happens when CI and communities join forces to protect nature.
Such designated areas usually restrict industrial fishing and other human activities (oil and gas extraction, access for tourism, costal infrastructure construction) that could impact coastal and marine ecosystems and the benefits they provide to people, such as food security, storm protection and recreation.
Keeping oceans and marine ecosystems intact and healthy allows them to better resist the impacts of climate change and to recover more rapidly after periods of extreme water temperatures.
In many cases, the protection of such areas results in an increase in the abundance and diversity of marine life and in an improvement of the overall health of the system.
READ MORE: A Grand Plan: Ecuador and "Forest Partners"