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Destination Details

Ecuador

 

Podocarpus National Park is a national park located in the provinces of Zamora Chinchipe and Loja, in the south-east of Ecuador. It was created in 1982.

It covers 1462.80 km², from two spurs of the eastern range of the Andes to the basins of the NangaritzaNumbala andLoyola rivers. About 85% of the park is in the province of Zamora Chinchipe and the remainder in the province of Loja. It is categorized as a megadiverse zone and an area with a high level of endemic species because is a meeting point between four ecological systems: Northern Andes, Southern Andes, Amazonian and Pacific ecosystems. Although a considerable knowledge has been gathered about its biodiversity in parts of the area, only a minority of the species inhabiting the park has been discovered so far.

The Podocarpus National Park spans from lower montane rain forests at ca. 1000m up to high elevation elfin forests at 3000 m. Paramo or subparamo vegetation is found at elevations >3000 m where a complex of more than 100 lagoons exists, among the best-known being the Lagunas del Compadre.

The park has two main entrances. One is in 'Cajanuma Sector' ca. 8 km south of Loja where elfin forest and paramo habitats at elevations between ca. 2900 and 3500 m can be accessed. The other is in 'Bombuscaro Sector', corresponding to the Bombuscaro River in lower montane forest habitats at elevations from ca. 1000 m upwards. There are two alternative entrances without park guards: the 'Romerillos Sector', corresponding to the Jamboé River southeast of the Bombuscaro Sector is also an entrance for gold miners that work inside the park. Another entrance is at Cerro Toledo, east of the Yangana-Valladolid route in the south-western part of the park.

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