Ecuador’s Choco region, famed for its biodiversity with its high number of endemic flora and fauna, is also one of the most highly threatened ecosystems in the world. Rampant deforestation in the past decades have resulted in a massive 61% loss of forest, as revealed in a study by the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP), an initiative of the organization Conservación Amazónica (ACCA). The Ecuadoran Choco region has lost 1.8 million hectares, or 4.4 million acres of its forest cover. Mining, selective logging for timber, and palm oil industry, to name a few pose as grave threats. Deforestation of pristine forests to make way for industrial plantation of palm, as well as mining concessions close to the Cotacachi-Cayapas Reserve, due to the existence of high quality minerals led to the loss of 68% of of its forest cover in the Choco lowlands by 2018. The Chachi Indigenous Reserve lost around 50 hectares or 124 acres of its forest cover between 2016 and 2018. Experts predict the total obliteration of the last remaining forest area in the next 25 to 30 years if the current rate of deforestation continues.
As reported by Mongabay
Image caption and credits: Comparison of the original forest and the state of the forest in 2018, using data from MAE, Hansen/UMD/Google/USGS/NASA.