View across the reserve, Murray Cooper

Ecuador Neblina Reserve

The Neblina Reserve is an important protected area of cloud forest, with extraordinary biodiversity and many endemic species.

The Neblina Reserve cloud forest

The Neblina Reserve consists of over 2,700 hectares of threatened tropical montane cloud forest in north-west Ecuador.

A unique, extremely diverse and threatened ecosystem, tropical montane cloud forests occur on humid mountain slopes where topography generates conditions for ground level clouds. They play an important role in the water cycle, capturing the water and then feeding the streams and rivers.

Teeming with wildlife, this area of forest is unusually rich in orchids and epiphytes alongside endangered animal species such as Andean bears, pumas, ocelots, tapirs, toucans, rare frogs, hummingbirds and the highly endangered black-and-chestnut eagle (Spizaetus isidori).

The Neblina Reserve is located in the Tropical Andes global biodiversity hotspot very close to, and a buffer area for, the Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve.


Rare jaguar sighting at Junin Community Reserve

Jaguar combined camera trap pics

A jaguar (Panthera onca) was recorded by a camera trap in the Junin Community Reserve within the cloud forests of the Intag Valley. This is the first time a jaguar has been photographed or seen in the area!

Threats to the Andean cloud forests

Only 2.5% of all rainforests are cloud forests. Of those, 90% of Ecuador's cloud forests have already been lost. Many native species are listed on IUCN's Red List due to habitat loss and fragmentation.

This is due to large scale threats such as mining, road building and climate change, and other threats such as illegal logging and unsustainable agriculture (eg cattle ranching and sugar cane cultivation).

Protection of the reserve

The on-going protection of the forest through patrols, monitoring and research is critical for the successful conservation of this cloud forest. Regular patrols of the reserve by a team of forest guards protect the reserve from hunting, illegal logging or opportunistic cattle grazing, and give us regular feedback on the health of the forest.

We use camera traps and GPS to gain valuable information about the recovery of the forest and its wildlife through sightings of key species.

We also put in place legal measures to ensure the long term protection of the forests. This includes successfully applying for and being granted first 'Protected Forest' status from the Ecuadorian MInistry of the Environment, and then in 2021, we were granted the enhanced protection status of the 'National System of Protected Areas'.

We are also committed to continue to expand the reserve to further extend the ecological corridor between protected reserves to the north and south, to reduce habitat fragmentation, and allow the seasonal migration of species. See below for our latest priorities.

Andean Bear Pete Oxford copy

Crucial for it's role in seed dispersal within the forest, the Andean bear is one of the threatened endemic species found in the Neblina Reserve. Neblina Reserve hosts a breeding population of bears - a PTES funded research project identified 18 individual adults bears plus juveniles within the reserve, proving the reserve is providing habtitat for this key species.

Current priorities

The Neblina Reserve forms part of the southern section of the much larger Chocó-Andean Corridor. The Chocó-Andean Corridor Project began in 1993 to create connectivity of forest habitat between protected areas from the Mindo Reserve near Quito to the Pangan Reserve in south west Colombia.

Mar2023 Neblina Key

Rainforest Concern is committed to continuing to extend the Neblina Reserve to expand the overall ecological corridor to reduce further habitat fragmentation, protect important watersheds and assist species migration and therefore survival.

We need your help to expand the Neblina Reserve to strengthen the connection of our Reserve to the Taminaga Grande community forest to the south.

Camera trap media

Puma on camera trap


Camera traps sited around Neblina have captured evidence of many animals including puma and Andean bear