Situated in the lush landscape of Ecuador’s Andes mountains, one of the top priorities of our Cuenca office is to protect the high-altitude ecosystems that supply water to millions of people living downstream. We recently celebrated the declaration of the 23,094 acre El Pan Municipal Reserve after a year of close work with El Pan’s Municipal Government, Ecuador’s Electric Corporation, and local communities. Armed with the knowledge that their way of life is made possible by the páramos and cloud forests of the Andes, these stakeholders partnered to protect these fragile ecosystems and the water they provide to local people.
El Pan, located northeast of the province of Azuay, sits on approximately 32,000 acres of land and is home to a little over 3,000 people. 51% of El Pan’s landscape is fully intact, species-rich montane forests and lush páramos – high-altitude grasslands that play a key role in the water cycle. These ecosystems are vital habitat for endangered species such as the mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque) and the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus).