Yasuni global - Let's keep it diverse and cool

Biosphere Yasuní

 - A treasure for humanity worldwide

"The Yasuní landscape (i.e. Yasuní National Park and the surrounding Woarani Ethnic Reserve) covers approximately 2,800,000 ha (ca. 1770 square miles) of land in the northern Ecuadorian Province of Napo, and includes the lower Napo and Yasuní rivers"1. It is part of the Amazon, one of the largest remaining rainforests on our planet. The Yasuní Biosphere protects the core of one of the richest biodiversity hotspots on the planet, as recent research confirms3. Moreover it is one of the last tracts of pristine, continuous tropical forest in eastern Ecuador. Its proximity to the equator and the Andean mountains provides unique climate conditions in the Amazon basin, with relatively high and uniform temperature and rainfall levels.

The Yasuní National Park was created in 1979 and it was declared a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 19892. It overlaps with the Waorani (or Huaorani) territory, which partly also became a Waorani Ethnic reserve, inhabited by at least two clans living in voluntary isolation.4

Many scientists have stressed the importance of the protection of this reserve due to its extraordinary biodiversity, state of conservation, and being home to one of the last indigenous tribes living in voluntary isolation. In regards to biodiversity, the "reserve has an estimated 2,274 tree and bush species, and 655 species have been counted in just one hectare; this is similar to the total number of native tree species in the United States and Canada combined. The park has 593 recorded bird species, making it one of the world’s most diverse avian sites. There are 80 bat, 150 amphibian and 121 reptile species as well as 4,000 vascular plant species per million hectares. The number of insect species is estimated to be 100,000 per hectare, the highest concentration on the planet. Furthermore, the species found in the park have a high level of endemism".2

Impressions from Yasuní

Pictures taken by Carlos Larrea

Considerable research has been conducted in the park and researchers predict that it will be moderately affected by climate change in the future (Bass et al., 2010; Hoorn, 2006). Moreover it is thought to have been the largest refuge in the Pleistocene area. 5 6 7 2

For more information on the history, challenges, conservation significance and biodiversity of the reserve, as well as on the Waorani people, please see the references beneath and click here fo a detailed collection on to scientific research.

You can also get very good insight into the biosphere Yasuní and people leaving amongst others from this website in English 



[1] USAid and the Wildlife Conservation Society (2011), "Greater Yasuní-Napo Moist Forest Landscape Conservati on Area: Achievements and Lessons Learned from 10 Years of Support for Threats-based Conservati on at a Landscape and Seascape Scale".

[2] Larrea, C. (2012), "Ecuador's Yasuni-ITT Initiatitive: A critical Assesment".

[3] Bass, M.S. et al. (2010), "Global Conservation Significance of Ecuador's Yasuní National Park", PLoS ONE 2010; 5: e8767.

[4] Finer, M, et al. (2009), "Ecuador’s Yasuní Biosphere Reserve: a brief modern history and conservation challenges", Environmental Research Letters, No.4, 034005.

[5] Haffer, J. and Prance, T.G. (2001), "Climatic Forcing of Evolution in Amazonia during the Cenozoic: on the Refuge Theory of Biotic Differentiation", Amazoniana, Insituto de Estudos Acancados da Universidad Sao Paulo.

[6] Solomon, S.E. et al. (2008), "Paleodistributions and Comparative Molecular Phylogeography of Leafcutter Ants (Atta spp.) Provide New Insight into the Origins of Amazonian Diversity", PLoS ONE, Vol. 3, No. 7: e2738.

[7] Bush, M.B. and de Oliveira, Paulo E. (2006), "The rise and fall of the Refugial Hypothesis of Amazonian Speciation: a paleoecological perspective", Biota Neotropica, Vol. 6, No. 1.