Proposed Ecological Corridor


In order to preserve the integrity of the biodiversity, aquatic ecosystems and scenic landscapes in one of the few remaining free-flowing river corridors that connects a very important transition zone between the Andes and the Amazon, the ERI has proposed the designation of the Jondachi-Hollín-Misahuallí-Napo Ecological Corridor as a model for natural resource management and conservation in the tropical Andes, with the value-added benefit of generating sustainable economic revenues for the region through low-impact adventure tourism activities which depend on the quality of the resource.


A conceptual map of the proposed protected river designation is presented below (click to enlarge image):

ERI_Map of Proposed Jondachi-Hollin-Misahualli-Napo Ecological Corridor

The proposed Jondachi-Hollín-Misahuallí-Napo Ecological Corridor, is a model conservation strategy which aims to establish a designated protected buffer zone that would extend 500m (~ 1/3 mile) on each side of the river, as shown in the yellow highlighted portion of the map, which is estimated to be sufficient as the minimum area needed to preserve the viewsheds and natural integrity of this free-flowing river corridor which connects a very important transition zone between existing protected areas in the Andes mountains and private reserves in the lower basin.


Preserving strategic free-flowing corridors which connect the Andes to the Amazon is essential to conserving biodiversity and aquatic ecosystems, as well as maintaining sustainable economic opportunities for this region by preserving the quality of the natural resources to allow the benefits from existing, low-impact adventure tourism activities such as kayaking, rafting, mountain biking, bird watching, hiking, etc.


The ERI has developed supporting materials and made important advances introducing this proposal to government agencies and authorities, as well as the local population and other organizations.


Although introducing new concepts and ideas is challenging and takes some time, by coordinating and networking with government agencies and other institutions, the ERI hopes to be able to provide incentives for land-owners in the designated protected river corridor area through land grants and carbon credits, as well as to develop programs to promote intensive reforestation projects in the areas outside of the corridor which have been mostly deforested as a way of creating employment opportunities and generating future benefits for the local communities.


It is hoped that these alternatives and incentives will take pressure off of the increasing encroachment into the river corridors for more wood harvesting and agricultural expansion, hydroelectric development and mining activities.


Here we display images of some of the representative biodiversity which would be preserved in the proposed ecological corridor, courtesy of Bruce Farnsworth Photography:


A Silky Anteater (Cyclopes didactylus), sleeps in secondary rainforest near the edge of a cacao plantation by an indigenous Kichwa of the Amazon community along the lower Jondachi and Hollín Rivers. These nocturnal arboreal animals rip open ant and termite nests with large claws on their forelimbs.
The twin peaks of the Sumaco volcano (3732 m / 12,241 ft) form an impressive backdrop to the scenic views along the Jondachi River corridor. The volcano forms the heart of the Sumaco National Park and is a core protected area in the UNESCO Sumaco Biosphere Reserve. The Hollín River drains off of the southwestern slopes of the Sumaco volcano, and forms a refuge of great biological diversity including valuable habitat for large mammals such as Jaguars, Andean tapir, and the Andean spectacled bear.
The Collared Peccary or wild pig (Tayassu tajacu), is an omnivorous, diurnal ungulate which feeds opportunistically on fruits, roots, snails and other food stocks on the rainforest floor.
The Saddleback Tamarin (Saguinus fuscicollis), is threatened by hunting and animal trafficking. The native habitat for these primates in the rainforests along the Upper Amazon River tributaries also faces increased pressure from development.
Epidendrum species terrestrial orchid of the lowland rainforests in the Upper Napo River Valleys.
Inflorescence of an orchid (Stanhopea annulata) from the headwaters of the Jondachi River in the Guacamayo mountains (transitional range between Upper Amazon Basin and Eastern Andes).
Orchid inflorescence of Psygmorchis pusilla, approx. ½ inch in length, which grows in the headwaters of the Jondachi River in the Guacamayo mountains (transitional range between the Upper Amazon basin and Eastern Andes).
A fledgling Gray-winged Trumpeter (Psophia crepitans) displays its soft, downy feathers with mottled chestnut, black and white plumage. This is an example of disruptive coloration which helps the young birds to blend into the rainforest environment and improves their chances of survival.
Firecracker-like inflorescence of the Brownea tree (Brownea macrophylla), sometimes called the "jungle rose." It is an example of cauliflory in which inflorescences arise directly from the tree trunk without branches. The indigenous Kichwa of the Amazon know it as "cruz caspi" and prepare a medicinal tea from the plant.
Inflorescence of a terrestrial orchid of the Epidendrum species which inhabits rainforest areas along the Upper Napo River Valleys.
Known locally as "yutzos" (yoot-zoes) plants, this flower (Calliandra spp.) belongs to a shrub which is common along the margins of rivers in Amazonian Ecuador.
Buttress roots of a species of “Ficus” tree in lowland “tierra firme” rainforest along the proposed Jondachi-Hollín-Misahuallí-Napo Ecological Corridor in the UNESCO Sumaco Biosphere Reserve.
An adult red brocket deer (Mazama americana) displays a dark red and maroon coloration which helps it hide from predators in the shadey glens of the rainforest understory. The habitat for these deer is increasingly threatened, and the ecological corridor formed by the Jondachi and Hollín Rivers offers an important refuge for these increasingly rare mammals. The range of the brocket deer extends up to approximately 2000 meters in elevation along the Andean mountains from northern Peru, through Ecuador and Colombia.
Firecracker-like inflorescence of a rainforest floor herb in the Gesneriaceae family.

Bruce Farnsworth is an editorial photographer and zoologist focusing on place-based understandings of wilderness and sustainability initiatives in the critical tropical rainforest zones.  Profound intercultural experiences and degrees in zoology, education and art influence his intimate and richly-textured images. His feature and assignment work includes such magazines as National Geographic, Smithsonian, CondeNast and The Nature Conservancy. Bruce’s long-term documentary project “Amazon Headwaters: Locals Working Toward the Global,” recently received 501 (c)(3) fiscal sponsorship from the Blue Earth (Seattle). To see more of Bruce’s work, visit



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