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Maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem health between the Andes and the Amazon in Ecuador
Our global ecosystem is in crisis, and many tipping points have been irreversibly crossed. AAC is partnering with Indigenous communities in the western Amazon rainforest where there is still a chance to conserve Ecuador’s last functional ecosystem, home to the highest biodiversity on Earth.
Photo by Mark Fox
The transitional region between the Andes Mountains and the Amazon basin is the most ecologically resilient landscape that has yet to be conserved in South America.
Maintaining connectivity between the Andes Mountains and the Amazon Basin
For millions of years, the Andes Mountains and the Amazon Basin were a single ecological body, where cycles of migration between the two ecosystems helped fuel the astonishing biodiversity of the region. But over the last 60 years, a 2,000-mile-long wall of development has spread along the base of the Andes. Now the landscape connectivity has been nearly severed and a massive wave of extinction is underway.
Indigenous communities partnering with AAC are re-establishing ancient wildlife migration corridors, restoring the connection between these diverse habitats.
THE Key to Success
Indigenous Nations are the best stewards of this globally critical ecosystem. Although they comprise less than 6% of the world’s population, they protect 80% of the Earth’s remaining biodiversity. This is no accident: Indigenous cultures have deep wisdom practices of reciprocity that nourish and support the land.
The best way to conserve the wildlife migration corridor between the Andes and the Amazon is through the conservation leadership and decision making of the Indigenous Communities who live there • More than 2 million acres of land along the eco-cultural corridor is now in conservation land-use planning designed and implemented by local Indigenous Communities who are partnering with AAC.
Thinking Beyond bio-corridors
Eco-cultural corridors are the key
The global conservation community is familiar with the term bio-corridor, which refers to a geographically defined area that provides connectivity between landscapes, ecosystems, and habitats and ensures the maintenance of biodiversity and ecological and evolutionary processes. By creating the term “eco-cultural corridor,” we center the critical role of Indigenous Communities in stewarding areas of wildlife connectivity where they live. These cross-national partnerships demand sophisticated, extended, and ongoing efforts of communication, strategizing, and implementation, and are the only way to reestablish the ancient and essential relationship between the Andes and the Amazon.