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Conservation Investment Strategy for Resident and Migratory Birds of the Chocó-Andean Region in Northwest Ecuador (2022)

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The Chocó bioregion and area of endemic biodiversitysaddles the Ecuador - Colombia border and totals approximately 100,000 km2. Its conservation priority is critical due to habitat loss caused by human activities. In northwestern Ecuador, this area of approximately 18,542 km2 is known as the Chocó-Andes. It covers an altitude range between 0 to 3,800 meters above sea level and is home to unique species of birds such as the endangered Black-breasted Puffleg (Eriocnemis nigrivestis), a hummingbird endemic to the Chocó and Central Andean Páramo. It is also an important area for migratory boreal species such as the Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea).

This important region requires the implementation of appropriate and consensual conservation strategies that respond to the needs for biodiversity conservation while remaining sensitive to the sustainability dynamics of the ancestral, Afro-descendant and rural populations inhabiting the Chocó-Andes landscapes and ecosystems. With the participation of local stakeholders, BirdLife International and its Ecuadorian partners, Aves y Conservación and Fundación Jocotoco, designed nine conservation strategies focused on the Chocó of the Northwestern Andes to be implemented over a period of ten years. These strategies seek to respond to previously identified problems, some of which are historically rooted in the region and responsible for the loss of vegetation cover, affecting the health of ecosystems and putting the future of biodiversity and the people who inhabit the northwestern Chocó-Andes at risk.

Seven of these strategies are considered high priority:

  • Establish an incentive program for the conservation of the Chocó-Andes of Northwestern Ecuador.
  • Implement comprehensive education and communication initiatives with local communities.
  • Implement a legal-environmental strengthening program.
  • Build capacity in local monitors on the legal procedures needed to address wildlife trafficking.
  • Restore vegetation cover to generate connectivity between remnant forest patches.
  • Implement innovative financial systems for the preservation and protection of conservation target species and for forest and biodiversity restoration.
  • Creation and management of private protected areas and other conservation figures in the region (Subsystems).

Two strategies were identified as medium priority: the program for the adequate disposal of solid and liquid waste from households, agricultural and business facilities; and the campaign for responsible ownership and control of feral domestic animals (dogs and cats) in the Chocó-Andes of Ecuador.

This document is a strategic guide for actors who work or are interested in the protection of this region, through not only environmental and conservation actions, but also participatory initiatives promoting economic and social justice in consensus with decision makers. These are the actions that guarantee effective conservation of the northwestern Chocó-Andes.