Scientists Identify Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park as one of the Most Biodiverse Places on Earth


Yasuní National Park, located in the core of the Ecuadorian Amazon, shatters a range of world biodiversity records-from trees to amphibians to insects to mammals and an array of other plant and animal groups-new research from U.S. and Ecuadorian scientists shows.

"Glowing Scorpion" Shot with a black light and a 20 second exposure at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station lab facility, Ecuador. PhotoCredit: Bejat McCracken - www.bejat.com
"Glowing Scorpion" Shot with a black light and a 20 second exposure at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station lab facility, Ecuador. PhotoCredit: Bejat McCracken - www.bejat.com

Yasuní National Park, located in the core of the Ecuadorian Amazon, shatters a range of world biodiversity records-from trees to amphibians to insects to mammals and an array of other plant and animal groups-new research from U.S. and Ecuadorian scientists shows.

The analysis, published in the journal PLoS ONE, also notes that the greatest threat to this diversity is proposed oil development projects-leased or proposed oil concessions cover the northern half of Yasuní, and four oil access roads have already been built into the park or its buffer zone.

“One of our most important findings about Yasuní is that small areas of forest harbor extremely high numbers of animals and plants,” says lead author Margot Bass, president of Finding Species, a non-profit with offices in Maryland and Quito, Ecuador. “Yasuní is probably unmatched by any other park in the world for total numbers of species.”

“This study convincingly demonstrates that Yasuní is the most diverse area in South America, and possibly the world,” says primatologist Anthony Di Fiore of New York University. “Both of my study sites in Yasuní contain 10 co-existing primate species. That’s incredible diversity for one small patch of rainforest.”

Di Fiore emphasizes that two of the species, the White-bellied Spider Monkey and Poeppig’s Woolly Monkey, are highly threatened in most of the 500

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