About the reserve
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The flora of the reserve is extremely varied, with everything from poducarpus to mahogany, palms, bromeliads and an overwhelming variety of orchids. The fauna is just as varied, including species such as: Pumas, howler monkeys, saki monkeys, tamarin monkeys, nocturnal monkeys, squirrels, white-lipped and collared peccaries, ocelots, margay cats, sloths, anteaters, armadillos, coatis, agoutis, pacas, otters, caimans and occasionally jaguars and tapirs. The birds are even more numerous and represent species such as military macaws, parakeets, toucans, curassows, guans, hummingbirds, manakins, antbirds, tanagers, tinamous and oropendulas. Local villagers can name and know more than 220 species of birds that are present in the immediate surroundings of the community.
In addition, the reserve is connected to another 250.000 acres of communally owned forest land and stretches undisturbed all the way into Peru and Brazil. The reserve lies within one of the world’s mega diversity hotspots. Mega diverse countries are those that due to their geographic position, environmental features, and history have an enormous amount of different kinds of organisms. Ecuador belongs to the select elite of the 17 mega-diverse countries of the world, of which it ranks as number Eight. These 17 countries, which also include Brazil, Columbia, and Indonesia, host between 60 and 70 percent of all the Earth's biodiversity. Ecuador is special because it is the smallest country in the mega diversity class.
One hectare or 2.5 acres of rainforest in Ecuador and Arútam can contain over 750 types of trees and 1.500 species of higher plants. In total in Ecuador, there is an estimate of some 25.000 species of plants alone (compared to 17000 species in the whole of North America) and there are 1600 birds found in the country which is more than double the species in Europe.
There are 369 known species of mammals, 350 species of reptiles - containing over 200 species of snakes alone. There exist around 400 amphibians in the country which is the most species of frogs in the world as well as an estimated 800 species of fish in the Amazon waters. The number of invertebrates, especially the insects is unknown but they are the most numerous of any living creatures, reaching into the hundred of thousands.