In July 2000, the UN’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre recognized 17 megadiverse countries which hold the majority of Earth’s species and high numbers of endemic species. The term megadiverse has been awarded to those countries that have at least 5,000 of the world’s plants as endemics and have marine ecosystems within its borders (source: atlasandboots.com). Ecuador, where the palm fresh fruit bunches are harvested to be processed into Palm Done Right ingredients, is one of these 17 megadiverse countries. Ecuador has around 23,056 taxonomic species of animals and plants reported, which constitute the 6.1% of all species reported worldwide.
Last month I was fortunate to experience Ecuador’s rich biodiversity firsthand. I visited three conservation sites together with Frank Pichardo and Jorge Castillo, conservationists at Ecuadorian based Tropical Herping. Though I travelled to Ecuador multiple times before, to meet with our Palm Done Right farmers and teams, this visit focused on conservation and the importance of forest and wildlife protection.
During a 10-day expedition I put on my boots to follow slippery trails, walk through dense cloud and rainforests, and wade through streams. I was able to feel the awe of species diversity, while trying to find tiny wildlife like frogs, toads, lizards and snakes, important indicators for ecosystem health.
To share the beauty of Ecuador’s almost invisible creatures, we created a booklet. It shows just a few of the more than 100 species I was able to see from up close. While it can’t compete with Tropical Herping’s Top 10 of Ecuador’s Sexiest Frogs this booklet also narrates my daily log of being out in the forest morning, day and night with passionate and adventurous herpetologists Frank and Jorge. It may inspire you to join them on one of their tours some day.
Experiencing Ecuador’s biodiversity richness was pure bliss. It underlined for me, once more, the importance of protecting our world’s fragile ecosystems, including biodiversity preservation. It is our joint responsibility to be good stewards of our natural resources and manage them with the utmost care.
Check out our ‘Tropical Herping in Ecuador’ booklet and stories about how palm oil can be done right: www.palmdoneright.com