The "cloud forests" form a particular tropical ecosystem where clouds and mist cover the canopy most of the time. A great amount of water is captured by the forest, by condensation of drops on the leaves of the trees. This characteristic change between the sky and the forest influences the ecology of this ecosystem. There are few places where this balance is reached, which explains the very low percentage of "cloud forests" in the world, less than 4%.
The "cloud forests" have a rich native endemic biodiversity of the world. However, many of these forests remain poorly known such as the "cloud forest" of Los Yaltes.
These forests are important resources in times of drought because they are able to capture the last source of water, the clouds.
The preservation of the cloud forest is the main objective of the Project, but also to inform the public about the importance of its wealth and the need of recovering the deforested areas so we can expand the ecological reserve.
For the fulfillment of the objective, it is necessary to achieve different goals within the ecological reserve “Los Yaltes”:
Establish a well-planned reforestation program to recover the affected areas of deforestation.
Make the reserve available to students and researchers who wish to work in this unique ecosystem.
Give access to protection associations to observe and do census of animals or plant species.
Open the reserve to national and international volunteers for training skills in different areas such as agronomy, biology, local development and other fields of ecological interest.
Integrate local communities in the preservation of the cloud forest.
HECTARES OF EXTENSION
The ecological reserve “Los Yaltes” has been affected by the deforestation of several hectares of the primary forest, especially for pasture and grazing. These spaces, are scattered within the 200 hectares of the reserve and represent approximately 25 hectares.
The main impact of deforestation is the reduction and destruction of animal habitats and loss of biodiversity and is directly responsible of landslides. In addition to this, the cloud forests guarantee the presence of water resources and their degradation can even deprive local populations of the vital liquid.
The ecological reserve Los Yaltes has more than 200 hectares of "cloud forest", located in the province of Imbabura, in the community of Chontal Alto. The reserve owes its name to two large trees characteristic of this ecosystem, the “Yalte rojo” and the “Yalte blanco”.
80% of the reverve remained a primary forest where there has been identified hundreds of different species of birds, 40 species of mammals such as Pumas (Mount lions) and glasses eyes bear (in this moment in endanger) thousands of tropical plants, including a variety of amazing orchids and some very rare, bromeliads and other epiphytes.
There is also many amphibians including some endemics like the marsupial frog or glass frog. In this context, the ecological reserve Los Yaltes in Chontal Alto is a perfectly preserved forest in relation to the Cordillera del Toisan which is part of one of the most important regions of our planet, known as the floristic province or Bio region of "Choco" that extends to the south of Panama, Colombia and northwest Ecuador on the eastern side of the Andes.
The reserve is located in a very hilly area where streams and rivers of clean and crystalline water descend from the slopes of the mountains of Toisan.