Ecoregion: Chocó Forest
Key Species: Brown-headed Spider Monkey, Grey-backed Hawk, Plumbeous Forest-falcon, Long-wattled Umbrellabird
Río Canandé Reserve is situated in Esmeraldas province on the banks of the River (Río) Canandé in north-western Ecuador, in the western foothills of the Andes at an altitude of around 500 metres above sea level. The reserve protects a fragment of the highly biodiverse Chocó habitat.
As in the wider Ecuadorian Chocó, this habitat is now highly fragmented by intensive agriculture (such as oil palm plantations) and timber extraction. Very little is under protection, and the Canandé reserve is located close to the southern boundary of what remains.
World Land Trust supports land purchase and protection in Rio Canande.
Río Canandé is home to rare and elusive mammals including Jaguar, Baird’s Tapir (Endangered), Margay, Puma and the Critically Endangered Brown-headed Spider-monkey (Ateles fusciceps).
Globally threatened bird species found at the reserve include: Plumbeous Forest-falcon (Micrastur plumbeus), Great-green Macaw (Ara ambiguus), Ochraceous Attila (Attila torridus), Long-wattled Umbrellabird (Cephalopterus penduliger), Scarlet-breasted Dacnis (Dacnis berlepschi) and Grey-backed Hawk (Leucopternis occidentalis).
The Carbon Balanced programme has been assisting with the protection of forests at Río Canandé since 2009 when a parcel of forest on the deforestation frontier and under imminent threat of clearance was secured, generating emissions offsets for Carbon Balanced supporters. Further purchases of similarly threatened forest during 2010/11 have expanded the area of habitat preserved through the Carbon Balanced programme here at Río Canandé.