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The “cloud forest" are little explored ecosystems, that interest the scientific community. Several scientists, including the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE), have studied the cloud forest of Los Yaltes.

 

There have been completed the first surveys (ornithological and botanical) finding a great diversity of orchids, including some very rare plants, vanilla or even medicinal plants as the Sangre de Drago.

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In order to promote scientific research in this type of ecosystem, researchers would have access to a study site of the "cloud forest" and new scientific discoveries could be important arguments for informing the public and the institutions about the need for their conservation.

 

We made a botanical study project of one hectare of the Cloud Forest, in collaboration with the Universidad Católica del Ecuador, with a very good results.

The reserve has a typical settler house, built around 1940, currently has been remodeled for better comfort. This house has a large kitchen-dining room, a living room, and a large room, office with a terrace from where you can see the cloud forest. This infrastructure is completed with two bathrooms with shower and hot water and a laundry. In addition, two cabin-type platforms were built with two bedrooms and a independent kitchen and diner room with a space working. 

The ecological reserve requires the implementation of the following infrastructure and equipment:

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  • Housing: Two cabins will be closed to become four 18 square meters bedrooms. Thus, to accommodate 6 people in two double rooms.

  • Multiple purpose room: the second platform will be a common living room and work room for visitors (two large tables will be available with cabinets for different purposes, for example to store samples, especially botanical ones).

  • Observation platform: construction in the heart of the forest of a bird watching platform.

  • Network of trails and gazers: creation of a network of trails and gazers.

  • Camera-trap monitoring: implementation of monitors and camera traps.

Activities that can be carried out include:

  • Trails in the cloud forest, trails of exploration.

  • Birdwatching (35 species in the reserve were described as attractive to bird lovers (see list of birds, classified ’ATRAC').

  • Exploration and knowledge of the botanical diversity of the cloud forest (orchids, medicinal plants, trees such as red and white Yalte, ceibo, matapalo, etc. ).

  • Naturalistic photography.

  • Participation in the monitoring of cameras-traps.

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  • Trekking, with different degrees of difficulty and camping in the area.

  • Swim in natural “jacuzzis”, formed by the Chontal River, which flows in the heart of the fog forest.

  • Rest and relaxation with the beautiful view of the mist forest from the hammocks in the common room.

  • A bilingual biologist-guide will be available to visitors, who will assist them in the discovery of the cloud forest and naturalistic observations.

It offers a unique opportunity for volunteers to take part in a fog forest conservation project, by participating in tree planting, scientific research and even promoting sustainable agriculture.

 

Possible activities:

  • Tree planting in areas degraded by deforestation

  • Design and development of trails

  • Compilation of botanical data from the scientific station

  • Planning of an orchid garden on the reserve, on the edge of the Chontal River

  • Development of an organic garden and implementation of sustainable practices

  • Naturalistic photography

  • Maintenance of the trap chambers

  • Construction of study facilities (bird observatories)

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