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national parks
 NATIONAL PARKS & PROTECTED AREAS [ANDES]
   EL ANGEL ECOLOGICAL RESERVE
 
Description
Sights
Flora and Fauna
Getting there
 

Location:     Carchi

Founded:     05/08/1992

Area Size:     15,715 hectares ; 38831,23 acres

Altitude Range :   3644- 4768 metres ; 11955.96- 156.81 feet

Admission fee:     US$10

   DESCRIPTION

The natural vegetation mainly consists of grassland, adapted to cold conditions, which has the ability to retain large quantities of water. The Reserve is therefore considered as a real-life ‘sponge’ providing the entire Carchi province with water. It’s also the birthplace of several rivers which eventually deposit their contents in the basins of River Mira and River El Angel. These high-altitude grasslands, also known as paramos , are considered the most humid in Ecuador .

 

The surrounding areas of the Reserve have been deforested for the extraction of wood and agricultural purposes. The Reserve was therefore founded with the intention of maintaining the natural landscape and to protect the forests, in particular the frailejones or espeletia – giant plants which grow to up 3 metres high to form a forest, similar in appearance to sunflowers with hairy leaves to insulate the flowers from the harsh climate – a typical feature of this paramo covering around 85 per cent of its surface area.

 

Given that private properties and communes exist within the area, which have been present since before the creation of the Reserve, traditional agricultural activities practised in the area pose a certain threat to the eco-systems that are maintained here. The soil is being damaged by agricultural activity, and the excessive use of fertilisers and pesticides has contaminated several rivers in the area. In addition, owners of the haciendas frequently burn the vegetation and undergrowth in order to prepare the soil for the sowing of crops. However, since the creation of the Reserve, such activities are being undertaken with less frequency.

Last Updated 18th July 2006

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