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Fairchild BG Forms Partnership to Protect Cloud Forest

29 March 2006

Right in our tropical backyard, Fairchild has recently begun leading conservation efforts in the Maquipucuna region in Ecuador, 50 miles northwest of Quito. Partnering with the Maquipucuna Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of Ecuador’s biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources, Fairchild will work to conserve the rain and cloud forests in that region of Ecuador—known as one of the richest orchid habitats on the planet. In fact, this incredibly biodiverse region contains nearly 2,000 species of plants, 345 species of birds, 45 different mammals and countless varieties of invertebrates.

Covering four different life zones ranging from 1,000 to 2,800 meters above sea level, the Reserve is located within the Choco-Andean Corridor, one of the planet’s top five biodiversity hotspots. “We’re very excited to partner with the Maquipucuna Foundation,” says Dr. Mike Maunder, Director of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. “They are a very professional conservation group that has achieved so much real conservation. We will be working with them on forest restoration and endangered species recovery, which is particularly exciting as we will be working on an extensive landscape-scale conservation project that will establish corridors between isolated forest areas.”

One of Fairchild’s researchers, Dr. James Gordon, recently returned from a first visit to the Reserve. “I was impressed with the sheer diversity of the cloud forest,” says Dr. Gordon. “Literally hundreds of different orchids were growing in the Reserves. Not only is the Maquipucuna Foundation preserving forests, but they’re also improving the livelihoods for rural communities through establishing organic coffee and chocolate projects.”

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