There are nine broad eco-zones or habitats in this small territory
called Ecuador. All of them are unique and beautiful. Unfortunately,
these ecosystems are threatened by the destructive processes of man.
Agriculture, cattle raising and deforestation, along with industrial
processes such as oil exploitation and the poor management of toxic
wastes have notably diminished the biological richness of the country.
Thanks to the growth of consciousness about the possible loss of
these natural ecosystems, Ecuador has created a system of national
parks and public and private ecological reserves, all of them directed
by INEFAN (Ecuadorian Forest Institute of Natural Areas and Wildlife).
These extremely important natural reserves are islands of nature
filled with invaluable treasures for all humanity and not only Ecuador.
The natural parks are divided among the following ecosystems: wet
tropical forest of the northwest littoral, dry tropical forest, Amazonian
tropical rainforest, mangrove forests, cloud forest, inter-Andean
valleys, high altitude grasslands or paramo and the Galapagos
Flora in Ecuador I
The flora of the northwestern tropical wet forest
is filled with huge trees that range between 20 and 30 meters tall.
The trees of this ecosystem are: laurel, wax palm, pambil, tangare,
sande, tagua and others. There are also abundant epiphytes, bromeliads,
ferns, moss and orchids. The biggest threat to this ecosystem is the
lumber industry and agriculture.
The flora of the tropical dry forest
is characterized by large shrubs of 8 meters such as the algarrobos
and cactus. There are also big trees that are unfortunately valued
for the quality of their wood like the ceibo, balsa, holly tree, laurel
The Amazonian tropical rainforest
is characterized by abundant vegetation with trees that pass 30 meters
in height. There are also small palms and species like achiote, wild
avocado, chonta, tangarama, wild grape, vanilla, guayusa, morete,
chuncho, dragon's blood, cacao, balsamo and lots of lianas and epiphytes.
Human colonization and subsequent deforestation and oil exploitation
are the major threats.
The Galapagos has acacias, cactus, cotton, mangroves,
salty grass, algarrobos, ferns, lichens, matasarno, epiphytes, escalesias,
ferns, moss, muyuyo, cat's claw and shrubs in the highlands.