Human pressures within this hotspot vary widely from area to area. Some parts, like coastal Ecuador, are among the most highly threatened in South America and others, like northern Chocó, remain fairly intact. Across the hotspot, threats range from the effects of climate change and ultraviolet radiation on amphibians to agricultural conversion and infrastructure development that increase colonization pressure, to hunting, particularly of larger birds and mammals. Throughout the hotspot, mangrove ecosystems are under threat from over-exploitation for timber and fuel wood, as well as mass clearing for shrimp aquaculture.
The coastal forests of Ecuador are in dire straits, with only about two percent of their original forest cover left. This forest destruction has mostly resulted from explosive population growth, doubling of agricultural activity, major increases in timber extraction, and the establishment of large-scale plantation forests of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) and eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.). The best-preserved dry forests in Ecuador are in Loja province, where Conservation International-Ecuador and partner organizations are supporting the creation of a protected area.
The outlook is much brighter in Panama and Colombia, although both regions face threats. While Panama's Darién retains about 65 percent of its original forest, it is threatened today by the proposed extension of the Pan-American Highway south through the Darién and possibly into Colombia. There have also been a number of large mining concessions awarded in the province. The Colombian Chocó is still largely intact and undeveloped, but large-scale development in the area may be imminent. Public and private investors have proposed a number of roads, an inter-oceanic canal, train routes, and hydroelectric dams. Small- and medium-scale mining, agricultural expansion, and timber extraction also threaten the integrity of the Chocó.
The Galápagos Islands have been seriously impacted by invasive alien species, and only three of the larger islands are considered relatively unaltered by human activity.
On the whole, about 63,000 square kilometers, or 24 percent of the original vegetation, remains in pristine condition in this region, with most of the intact forests located in the Colombian Chocó and parts of Panama's Darién Province.