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 general objective of the project is the preservation of the "cloud forest", the communication about its importance and its richness; and finally, the expansion of the area covered by the ecological reserve Los Yaltes in the perspective of a wider conservation.
The achievement of the general objective demands the realization of different objectives inside the ecological reserve Los Yaltes:
To establish a reforestation program for recovering deforested areas
To set up an open scientific station for students and researchers who wish to work in this unique ecosystem.
To develop a responsible eco-tourism activity within the reserve
To gather international volunteers for the development of skills in the different areas that this project proposes (agronomy, biology, local development).
To do participate the locals “comunidades” to this proyect.
HECTARES OF EXTENSION
Several hectares of the "cloud forest" of the ecological reserve Los Yaltes have been degraded by deforestation, especially because of the pasture. These spaces, scattered within the 200 hectares of the reserve, represent approximately 25 hectares. These deforested areas are responsible for land damage, destruction of animal habitats and loss of biodiversity. Thus, the cloud forests provide water, their degradation can prevent people from water.
The reforestation program could be achieved by the "Framework" species method. Pioneer or executive species are native forest species that improve natural forest
regeneration and accelerate the recovery of biodiversity. In this process of reforestation, there are different sites that are organized by "stages of degradation", which go from the one containing the lowest to the highest degree.
In Los Yaltes, some sites require only protection, remove grass and application of organic fertilizers while others are dominated by the presence of weeds and the sources of regeneration is insufficient, a tree plantation is necessary.
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.