Study and Conservation of the Biodiversity

Project location: Ecuador
Project start date: July 2006 - Project end date: July 2008
Project number: 2006-13
Beneficiary: University of L'Aquila


The Nando Peretti Foundation financed a project based on a cooperation between the University of L'Aquila and the University of Quito for studying and teaching biodiversity.

The project entails three aspects connected to each other:

I) Scientific: Ecuador is the place with the highest level of biodiversity on the earth, originating from an extraordinary variety of environments concentrated in a very limited space. Several groups of organisms are still very little known: for example, it is believed that less than 10% of the species of insects has been described so far.

II) Conservation: the researches is being carried out mostly in the Otonga Natural Reserve and in the Otongachi Natural Reserve. Both these areas were purchased by the Italian missionary Giovanni Onore by means of donations, with the aim of preserving what is remaining of the natural environment. Otonga is a large area laying between 1700 and 2200 metres above see level, mostly covered by the ‘selva nublada'; Otongachi, which was purchased more recently, lays between 700 and 900 metres and is characterized by semideciduous forest. These two protected areas are true "lifeboats" for very many animal and plant species otherwise destined to disappear because of the destruction of the environment. Our studies are also motivated by the necessity of demonstrating to the authorities the needs of more protected area and also for obtaining legal protection.

III) Social: protection of these areas makes it possible for local people to preserve their traditions and the links to their place of origin; this is made possible by the creation of jobs such as foresters, guides for the increasing number of "ecotourists", handicraftsmen working with renewable products (such as the carves of "tagua", the plant ivory obtained from a plant growing in the Otongachi Reserve). Moreover, a portion of the requested grant is devoted for financing the training of a student in the study of biodiversity and of techniques for nature conservation. This training includes a stay in Italy in the Department of Environmental Sciences of the University of L'Aquila, which is specialized in the study of biodiversity and also has doctorate in Environmental Sciences.

This project received funding also in 2009-2010.

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University of L'Aquila (Italy)
Environmental Sciences Department

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