Reserva Los Cedros location in Ecuador. Image credit: Rainforest Action Group

The Los Cedros Biological Reserve is 60 kilometres northwest of Quito as the quetzal flies, but getting there can be quite a journey. Founded in 1988, the reserve covers 4800 Ha (11,861 acres) of premontane wet tropical forest and cloud forest, of which more than 4094 Ha (10,117 acres) is primary forest.

Jose DeCoux teamed up with Centro de Investigacion de los Bosques Tropicales (CIBT) in the 1980s to protect this ecologically pristine area from threats and legalize the reserve. The purchase of the first land holding was made possible with the help of numerous individuals and organizations, in particular Christof Schroeder and friends, Retten den Regenwald, Flor del Bosque,  Friends of the Earth Sweden and especially the Rainforest Information Center of Australia.  Throughout the years RIC has provided ongoing support to conserve this biological treasure.

ridges through cloudsThe reserve is a southern buffer zone for the 182,109 Ha (450,000 acre) Cotocachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve, and both are part of the Choco Phytogeographical Zone, one of the most biologically diverse and endemic habitats on Earth. 

Not only does the reserve protect the forest from further deforestation, it protects the four major watersheds within it. This objective is ongoing and requires hard work and dedication from a team of many enthusiasts.

The Reserve hosts a huge diversity of rare and endangered species, with 358 known species of birds, such as the critically endangered Black-and-Chestnut Eagle. Birds are added all the time to the Reserve lists and we expect that more than 400 species make their home there. Six species of felines roam their territories in the reserve along with primates like the White-Headed Capuchins and the critically endangered Brown-Headed Spider Monkey. Numerous species of snakes, lizards and frogs - some of which can only be found at Los Cedros.

The Reserve is governed by the Fundación Los Cedros, composed of local community leaders, representatives from environmental groups, and Los Cedros staff.