Ecuador’s rainforests cover almost 13 million hectares, an area larger than the size of Greece. It harbours a vast richness of animal and plant species in a variety of ecosystems, ranging from lowland rainforests to snow-capped mountains. Despite increasing deforestation elsewhere in the Amazon, Ecuador has successfully reduced deforestation over the last decade.

Why is the Rainforest in Ecuador Destroyed?

According to the country’s National REDD+ Strategy, in the period 1990-2014, more than 90% of deforestation in Ecuador was linked to the agricultural sector, due mainly to conversion of forests to pasture.

Other products that have led to deforestation include cocoa, coffee, corn, rice and oil palm. In the coming years there is fear that the extractive industries might become an even larger threat to the forests, as mining and oil concessions have been granted on Amazon land.

Other underlying factors to deforestation include lack of land use planning, weak capacity for control and enforcement, agricultural expansion and other sectoral policies.  Agricultural subsidies are still in favour of land-intensive production, including cattle farming and monoculture production.

Success in Forest Protection

Deforestation has declined gradually in recent years. About 25% of the Ecuador’s emissions come from deforestation.

From an average annual gross deforestation of 130,000 hectares in the period 1990-2000, the annual deforestation was reduced to approx. 64 000 hectares in 2017-18.