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In the Press

‘Going in the Wrong Direction’: More Tropical Forest Loss in 2019

by Henry Fountain

“The level of forest loss we saw in 2019 is unacceptable,” said Frances Seymour, a fellow with the environmental research group World Resources Institute, which released the deforestation data through its Global Forest Watch program. “We seem to be going in the wrong direction.”

“There has been so much international effort and rhetoric around reducing deforestation, and companies and governments making all these commitments that they are going to reduce by half their tropical forest loss by 2020,” said Mikaela Weisse, who manages the Global Forest Watch program. “The fact that it’s been so stubbornly persistent is what’s worrying to us.”

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Want to stop the next pandemic? Start protecting wildlife habitats

When animals have room to roam, they don’t pass infections to humans. 

by Eric Roston

“Virus spillover risk” from wildlife to people rises as contact increases between them. . . . Almost half of the new diseases that jumped from animals to humans . . . after 1940 can be traced to changes in land use, agriculture, or wildlife hunting. SARS, Ebola, West Nile, Lyme, MERS, and others all fit the profile. . . . “We are messing with natural systems in certain ways that can make them much more dangerous than they would otherwise be,” says Richard Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. “And biodiversity loss is one of those. Climate change is another.”

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Fundación Cordillera Tropical: Conserving biodiversity in the tropical Andes of Ecuador

by Pauline McKean


Cuenca-based conservation non-profit Fundación Cordillera Tropical (FCT) works to build bridges between society’s ever increasing consumption of natural resources and the urgency to protect remaining wild habitats and restore those that have been altered.

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Local environmental project receives support from Ecuadorian expats living in the U.S.

by Cynthia Mills

Fundación Cordillera Tropical (FCT) has been awarded a $5000 grant by East End for Ecuador (EEforE) to support the foundation’s continuing work to preserve high-elevation environmentally endangered land in Sangay National Park.

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-Con el apoyo de CELEC EP- Fundación Cordillera Tropical gana un prestigioso premio internacional de sostenibilidad

The Fundación Cordillera Tropical (FCT) won the national Energy Globe 2015 award for Ecuador in recognition of its commitment to creating sustainable livelihoods in the southern Andes of Ecuador. Energy Globe, the world sustainability award, recognized the FCT program that promotes the restoration of paddock on private land next to Sangay National Park as a strategy to guarantee a sustainable future.

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What is biodiversity and why does it matter to us?

by Damian Carrington

The air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat all rely on biodiversity, but right now it is in crisis – because of us. What does this mean for our future and can we stop it?

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Are we correctly understanding the Amazon fires?


These maps provide perspective. During August and September of 2019, headlines and news items reported that the Amazon rainforest was burning. But when we examine satellite imagery showing both the fires that year and those that burned in the previous four years, we see that the majority of the fires represented annual burning associated with agriculture. The underlying problem, of course, is deforestation.


Deforestation proceeds silently and relentlessly, usually following rivers and road access, as seen in the linearity of the fires (see By the time the vegetation burns, the original forest has been felled and often is long gone.


Annual fires in tropical America are not restricted to the Brazilian Amazon. Bolivia also sees large areas in flames every year with significant encroachment on protected areas. Based on satellite images from Bolivia’s early warning fire detection agency, environmental groups estimate the destruction surpassed two million hectares in 2019. About 16% of the damage is within protected areas and fires recently spread into Kaa-Iya, Bolivia’s largest national park in the Gran Chaco


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What satellite imagery tells us about the Amazon rainforest fires

by K.K. Rebecca Lai, Denise Lu, and Blacki Migliozzi

Scientists studying satellite image data from the fires in the Amazon rain forest said that most of the fires are burning on agricultural land where the forest had already been cleared.

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Existing forest

Deforestation through 2018

Fires in August

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