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Ecuador is home to ten percent of the world's plant species, the majority of which grow in the northeastern Amazon, where an estimated 10,000 species thrive. The diversity of the climate here has given rise to more than 25,000 species of trees. Moreover, the Andes is home to an estimated 8,200 plant and vegetable species. In the orchid family alone, 2,725 species have been identified in the area. In the Galapagos, there are about 600 native species and 250 more which were introduced by man. Three of the twelve key bio diversity zones identified by the naturalist Norman Myers can be found on the Ecuadorian mainland.
Ecuador is home to 8 percent of the world's animal species and 18 percent of the planet's birds. Around 3,800 species of vertebrates have been identified in Ecuador as well as 1,550 mammals, 350 reptiles , 375 amphibians, 800 fresh water fish , and 450 salt water fish. Ecuador is home to 15 percent of the world's endemic bird species and to more than a million insects and 4,500 butterflies.
The ecosystems which exist in the country from sea level to an altitude of 6400 meters. Its total area is 14,583,227 hectares, including the highlands, the coast and the Amazon region. There are 46 ecosystems which are made up of paramo, woods, valleys and the Pacific Ocean, found in different climate zones.
Thanks to a variety of different and numerous large trees species, an abundance of plants, flowers, mammals, reptiles, birds, invertebrates, fish and amphibians, the tropical rain forest is the ecosystem with the richest biodiversity.
There are 10 national parks, 14 natural reserves, a wild life refuge and a recreation area, ALL considered natural heritage and protected by the State. They cover an area of approximately 4,669,871 hectares of land and 14,110,000 of water divided into four regions. The biodiversity is the main wealth of these areas, although there are a number of communities in the urban sector as well as indigenous and country people in the rural area.