Ecuador’s Amazon region extends east from the foothills of the Andes—lower than 1,300 m (4,265 ft.) in altitude—and includes all the mountain ranges and lowlands in the eastern portion of the country.
It is spread over six Amazon provinces—Orellana, Pastaza, Napo, Sucumbíos, Morona Santiago and Zamora Chinchipe—which together represent almost 50% of Ecuador’s mainland territory.
At the global level, the Amazon is recognized for its role in regulating the planet’s climate and as a carbon sink. Nationally, it has been identified as a region deserving special attention because of the strategic resources it holds for the country, especially those related to energy independence.
It’s estimated that 80% of Ecuador’s biodiversity, its main sources of fresh water, the largest expanses of pristine forest and the most important deposits of oil and minerals are concentrated in this area.
Around 740,000 people live in Ecuador’s Amazon region, which constitutes the most densely populated area within the Amazon River Basin. This population is characterized by a great amount of ethnic and cultural diversity and includes ten indigenous peoples.
Because of its importance, over three million hectares of Ecuador’s Amazon region have been incorporated into the country’s Natural Heritage program. Nevertheless, multiple pressures and threats still put this valuable natural capital’s long-term conservation at risk.