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LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE

Resumen Limoncocha Biological Reserve

The Limoncocha Biological Reserve , located in the Sacha-Shushufindi Corridor, is mainly made up of Lake Limoncocha (formerly called Capucuy), the surrounding areas, and the so named Black Lake. known as Yanacocha. 100% of the area corresponds to a RAMSAR Wetland, denomination obtained in July 1998. The Black Lake, the Jivino and Capucuy rivers, make up the core of this wetland and also the intangible and pristine zone of the Reserve. The reserve is located in Sucumbia Province, very close to the Yasuni National Park. The Reserve includes some oil fields.

 

LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE: The LakeLIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE: clouds over the lake

Challwuacocha es una laguna hermosa de agua oscura rodeada de marismas y pantanos. En el otro extremo está cubierto con agua jaciento de agua.

Se forman nubes oscuras sobre la laguna Challwuacocha.

 

LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE: regional mapLIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE: map

LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE: detailed map

 

Tourism

TOURISM: The Reserve is entered from the towns of Nueva Loja (Lago Agrio) or Francisco de Orellana (Coca). They are easily reached, bu aire and by road. From the Coca it is possible to get there river transport in about 3 hours to the town from Pompeii. During the trip it is possible to observe the secundary forests on the banks of the river as well as birds. It is also possible to go by road; the same road that comes from Lago Agrio in the Sacha sector, and then continues on by Shushufindi to Limoncocha on a 130 km gravel road.

 

LAKE LIMONCOCHA: It is a place of great beauty, irregular in shape, with a lime-green hue of its waters, due to the effect of the algea bloom caused by eutrophication for nearby settlements. When I visited it in the 1970s it did not have such coloring. The lake represents an important tourist and scientific attraction due to the great flora and fauna diversity that it possesses. In the day, you caj watch  of aquatic birds, fish and turtles; while at night, it is an ideal place to find black and white caimans. It is possible to navigate with the guidance of the members of the community. You can safely swim in the lake, despite the fact that there may are pirañas.

ISLANDS AND BEACHES OF THE NAPO RIVER: The entire lake system in this area is part of the river Napo basin. Its islands and sand banks are places that offer multiple resources for recreation and observation of the nature. They are permanently used as a transit areas for tourists and locals.

 

CAPUCUY RIVER: has suffered the least from human intervention. There you can enjoy flora and fauna in their natural state and it is possible to observe species of parrots and macaws, which are hardly seen around Lake Limoncocha.

 

LAKE YANACOCHA: It is a blackwater lake with great biological diversity. It is located on the drainage of Lake Limoncocha towards the Capucuy River. It is almost impenetrable place, since it is covered with dense vegetation and swampy areas. It is believed that many anacondas live in this sector and that it is the favorable place for alligators to have their nests. Ethnobotanical trail: This self-guided 2 km trail located on the southeast side of Lake Limoncocha. The vegetation It corresponds to a mature secondary forest and the trees and shrubs on the trail are marked. Limoncocha Interpretation Center: It is located at about 500 m from the lake. The surrounding area has infrastructure to receive small groups of visitors, motorized canoes, and a trail that leads to the lake.

 

It is an interesting place due to the amount of multicultural elements that can be found, especially at fairs. Archaeological Museum of Pompeii (cIcame): Located on the island of Pompeii, the CICAME Museum brings together the largest and most important collection of funerary pottery belonging to the Napo Phase (1188-1480 AD), as well as many other pieces from different indigenous cultures of the area. For its access you travel through the Napo River from Coca (one hour downstream) or go by car.  It is located in Limoncocha, in the old center of the Summer Linguist Institute. It is an important research site, which focuses on the study of the impacts caused to the area by oil and anthropic activities, among others. Archaeological remains belonging to the Napo Phase have been found. At the time these inhabitants were part of a bellicose, expansionist society, skillful in the cultivation of roots or seeds, and great fishermen (Cabodevilla 1998). The area of ​​influence of the reserve is currently occupied by Quichuas. Amazonian Quichua. The entry of oil companies, have caused a gradual change in their habits and way of life. The communities practice farm agriculture with basic foods such as plantains, cassava, sweet potatoes, rice and cane. of sugar These indians used to supplied theire crops with bush meat, but the disappearance of game species made them them raise chickens and pigs. However, fishing, hunting and gathering were important activities within their culture. The communities located in the buffer zone of the Reserve are Limoncocha, Santa Elena, Jivino, Itaya, Pompeya and Indillama, with approximately 600 people .

 

Hydrology

The hydrology of the protected area is linked to the Napo River. The Napo, River, the largest riven in Ecuador, originates in the Andes Mountains and drains an area of ​​44,695 km2 (Younes 2006). The reserve has 213 ha of surface water, with a maximum depth of 3.10 m. Lake Limoncocha, which gives its name to the Reserve, along with other important rivers such as Capucuy, Itaya, Jivino and Indillana (Lasso 1998a). The reserve is located, for the most part, within the River Basin.  The Capucuy, Jivino and Indillana Rivers flow towards the Napo (upstream) when it floods the area; while the Jivino and Itaya drain also a large area in the north of the Reserve. The Limoncocha and Yanacocha lakes and adjacent wetlands are both dead arms of the Napo River. Its basin is one of the main tributaries of the Amazon River and transports large amounts of sediment from the mountains. The Napo annually floods the adjacent lands, producing that the north bank of the river recede 14 m per year, which will be able to cause Lake Limoncocha to become an active branch of the Napo River in about 50 years.

 

Gazetted

September 23, 1985 Under Ministerial decree No 394 REGISTRO OFICIAL October 1, 1985 R. O. No 283 Area 4 613 ha Elevation 230 msnm

 

Climate

LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE: Lagoagrio climate data.LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE: Lagoagrio rainfall.

The precipitation in Lagoagrio (above) is lowes in December, averaging around 200 mm. The highest precipitations falls in June, with an average of 345 mm. The average annual rainfall in Lagoagrio is 3,500 mm. In Limoncocha the conditions are very similar.

At an average temperature of 25.7 degrees C in Lagoagrio, November is rather hot, while average temperatures in July are a bit cooler going down to 24.1 degrees C.

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Vegetation

Lowland evergreen forest: This formation includes two types of forests: those found on upland hills and those on flat, well-drained lands (not flooded). Amazon forests are diverse and heterogeneous. The canopy reaches heights of 30 m; however, there are emerging trees of more than 40 m high. This formation covers most of the lowlands of the Amazon. The representative canopy flora of the dissected hill forests are: Iriartea deltoidea, Oenocarpus bataua (Arecaceae); Virola duckei, Otoba glycycarpa (Myristicaceae); Parkia multijuga (Mimosaceae), among others. In flat areas the typical emergent trees are: Ceiba pentandra, Chorisia insignis (Bombacaceae); Trichilia laxipaniculata (Meliaceae), Hasseltia fioribunda, Neosprucea grandifiora (Flacourtiaceae); (Sierra 1999).

 

Lowland evergreen forest flooded by sedimented waters (vazea): They are located on flat soils, contiguous to the large rivers of sedimented and clear waters. like Aguarico, Coca, Napo, Pastaza, Bobonaza. These forests have a large amount of suspended sediments that enrich their soils, since in times of high rainfall they flood those lowlands. This formation It is located on the southwestern side of Lake Limoncocha, on flat terrain. The upper stratum has a canopy of 30 m high with scattered trees; while the understory is dense, like the herbaceous layer (Thurber and Perez 2006). Coomon trees in the canopy are: Dendropanax caucanus (Araliaceae), Astrocaryum urostachys (Arecaceae), Phytelephas tenuicaulis, pambil (Iriartea deltoidea), Pachira aquatica, Ceiba samauma (Bombacaceae), Cordia hebeclada, C. nodosa (Boraginaceae). In the middle layer one can find species such as: Bactris maraja (Arecaceae), Ruizodendron ovale, Unanopsis fioribunda (Annonaceae); Senna macrophylla (Caesalpinaceae), Acalypa stenoloba (Euphorbiaceae), Ocotea caudata (Lauraceae), Miconia subspicata, M. peleacea, Loreya subandina (Melastomataceae). The herbaceous stratum is made up of: Homalomena purpurea, Dieffenbachia costata (Araceae); Costus amazonicus (Costaceae), Heliconia episcopalis, H. stricta, H. rostrata (Heliconiaceae); Calathea poeppigiana (Marantaceae), Renealmia puberula (Zingiberaceae); (Thurber and Perez 2006).

 

Lowland evergreen forest flooded by black water (igapo): It develops on alluvial valleys in black water rivers and lagoons flooded by water from lake systems with the same characteristics. It is perhaps the most striking among the formations vegetables in the area, since the trees are submerged under water between 2 - 3 m for several months.On the other hand, in the dry season (December - February), a great variety of herbs appears, mainly grasses. It should be added that few species are adapted to these conditions (Sierra 1999). This formation is located on the shores of the Limoncocha Lagoon, in a very thin strip. The species of this type of forest are: Mauritiella armata , Attalea butyracea, Euterpe precatoria, Mauritia flexuosa (Arecaceae), Ceiba samauma (Bombacaceae), Bauhinia tarapotensis, Macrolobium acaecifolium (Caesalpinaceae).However, in the understory layer species such as: Bactris riparia (Arecaceae), Dolio carpus multiflorus (Dilleniaceae), Montrichardia linifera (Araceae), Urera baccifera (Urticaceae). Other characteristic flora is that of epiphytes and herbs, of which we can mention: Anthurium pseudoclavigerrum, A. apaporanum, A. eminens, Phylodendron megalophyllum, Urospatha sagitifolia, Dracontium spruceanum, (Thurber and Perez 2006). LOW LAND PALM FLOOD FLOOD FOREST (moretaL or swamp forest): This formation is located in the northern part of the Reserve, near the Capucuy and Indillama rivers and on the south side of the Napo River. The most conspicuous species is the morete or aguaje palm (Mauritia flexuosa), which can reach up to 35 m in height and 40 cm in diameter. They grow on flat terrain and poorly drained depressions in the alluvial plain, the surface of which is flooded for most of the year. The canopy reaches 30 m in height, with a relatively dense understory. Some species: Mauritia flexuosa, Mauritiella aculeata, Attalea butyracea Euterpe precatoria (Arecaceae); Virola surinamensis (Myristicaceae), Croton tessmanii (Euphorbiaceae), Himatanthus sp. (Apocynaceae); (Thurber and Perez 2006).

 

Lowland Lake Grass: The grasses in this formation can grow to 4 m in height and are located on the shores of the Limoncocha Lagoon (Sierra 1999). Shrubs (Montrichardia linifera), vines  (Gurania acuminata), herbs (Cyperus odoratus, Oxycarpum sp.) and Poaceae (Panicum sp.; Thurber and Perez 2006) can be found. To complement the classification proposed by Sierra (1999), Thurber and Perez (2006) add a formation, based on the studies of the updating of the RBL Management Plan (2006):

 

Islands Vegetation: This formation It is typical of the banks of large rivers, constantly affected by floods, which form three horizontal strata of vegetation. In the herbaceous and shrub layer: Gynerium sagitatum, Tesaria integrifolia (Asteraceae) and Calliandra agustifolia (Mimosaceae). Another layer is constituted by Cecropia sp. (Cecropiaceae) and Ochroma pyramidale; and a last layer is formed by Ficus sp. (Moraceae); capirona (Calycophyllum spruceanum); (Thurber and Perez 2006).

 

Flora and Fauna

FLORA

Throughout the year, the reserve enjoys constant sunshine; atmospheric humidity greater than 80%, although on clear and sunny days, humidity can drop to 50%, while the temperature rises up to 30 degrees C. Under those conditions, the leaves of the canopy may be subjected to extreme drought the day, so they have developed several defense mechanisms against desiccation, such as: leaves with coarser cutulas, hair-like structures or associations with mosses and epiphytes; which varies from vegetation characteristic canopy in the Amazon. In the lower strata, the plants enjoy a much cooler climate, more homogeneous, without the direct impact of the sun, nor oscillations of temperature; this peculiarity causes a rapid decomposition of plant material deposited in the soil, whose nutrients are immediately reused by the vegetation. Amazon.

Trees of Limoncocha

As for the primary vegetation, in the Limoncocha Biological Reserve there are tree species similar to those that exist in the neighboring areas of Cuyabeno and Yasuni. Palms such as chambira (Astrocaryum urostachys) and ungurahua (Oenocarpus bataua) stand out; in addition there are, timber trees, epitatus, bromeliads, orchids, mosses and lianas. The vegetation de igapó swam forest has been identified south of Lake Limoncocha and in Lake Yanacocha. In this area, a species of palm, known as chontilla (Bactris sp.) dominates, and associated with it is the macrolobium tree (Macrolobium sp.). In the shrubby swamps, the morete (Mauritia flexuosa) dominates, another species of palm, which are found mainly in the extreme south of the Reserve, and cover permanently flooded areas. Next to these palms, grows a vine known as the gato (Uncaria tomentosa), highly appreciated for its medicinal benefits; Further there is the balsa tree (Ochroma pyramidale), with wood suitable for manufacturing. In the mature secondary forest, the ceibo tree (Ceiba pentandra) and the highly prized cedro tree (Cedrela odorata) are found, together with the guarumo tree (Cecropia marginalis, C. herthae), a species of tree  used by birds and sloths when it blooms.

 

LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE: Flora

 

Valencia et al. (2000) identified 9 endemic species of trees: Trigynaea triplinervis, Unonopsis magnifolia (Annonaceae); Astrocaryum urostachys (Arecaceae), Pourouma petiolulata (Cecropiaceae), Senna trolliifiora (Fabaceae), Dicranopygium euryphyllum (Cyclanthaceae), Nectandra canaliculata (Lauraceae), Calathea ecuadoriana (Marantaceae), Maxillaria neillii (Orchidaceae).

 

Fauna

In general, the Amazonian fauna in the Reserve presents a high level of biodiversity, but with a low population density. The fauna present in the area corresponds to 53 species of mammals, 144 birds, 92 amphibians and reptiles, and 93 fish (Gomez 2006; Younes 2006).

 

Mammals

The surroundings of Yanacocha are considered a natural refuge for large mammals such as tapirs (Tapirus terrestris), deer (Mazama americana), and monkeys (Callithrix pygmaea, Alouatta seniculus), among others. The bats Artibeus jamaicensis, A. lituratus and Rhinophylla pumilio are the most common, followed by rodents such as the black agouti (Dasyprocta fuliginosa), Proechimys sp. and carnivores such as the jaguar (Panthera onca) and the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis); (Thurber and Perez 2006).

 

LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE: mammals

Some of the more impressive mammals.

 

LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE:  Squirrel monkey.LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE: Brown Woolly Monkey

Squirrel monkey.

Brown Woolly Monkey.

 

Birds

The reserve has been popular among birdwatches, due to the abundance of birds and the possibilities offered by the Reserve to observe birds rather closely and in a natural environment. Common bird the kingfisher, garrapateros, herons, hoatzins, parakeets, parrots and macaws. Also, there are vultures with red and yellow heads. The Tyrannidae family is the best represented in terms of number of species, followed by Thamnophilidae, Icteridae, Psittacidae, Dendrocolaptidae and Thraupidae (Thurber and Perez 2006). Two species threatened with extinction were recorded in the area in the IUCN threatened categories: the screaming unicorn (Anhima cornuta), the black crabeater hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus); and the Ecuadorian cacique (Cacicus sclateri), the latter as the only endemic bird of the Reserve (Thurber and Perez 2006).

 

LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE:  birds

Some of the more impressive birds.

 

LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE: Scarlet Macaws are more common along the Zabalo River.LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE: Silver egrets are widespread but less common.LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE: Chestnut-fronted Macaws are among the smallest macaws of the jungle.CUYABENO WILDLIFE RESERVE [ECUADOR's AMAZON]: Common Potoos rarely fly up, as they count on their splendid mimicri.

LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE: Blue and Yellow Macaws frequent the Cuyabeno Lake. LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE:  Muscovy ducks you see in North America came originally from the Amazon.LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE: Mealy Parrots are common in Cuyabeno.CUYABENO WILDLIFE RESERVE [ECUADOR's AMAZON]:  Hoatzins are primitive birds that frequent the Cuyabeno Lake swamps.

Some of the more impressive birds.

 

Amphibians and Reptiles

The herpetofauna of the place is no exception in terms of its diversity. In the Reserve, 92 species of amphibians and reptiles were registered, equivalent to 11% of the country's herpetofauna. (Thurber and Perez 2006). The amphibians correspond to frogs, toads and salamanders; with 6 families, 22 genera and 53 species. The records in the reserve indicate the presence of: Chaunus marinus and Rhaebo glaberrimus (Bufonidae); Osteocephalus, Phyllomedusa, Scinax and Nyctimantis (Hylidae); Eleutherodactylus (Brachycephalidae), Leptodactylus, Edalorhina (Leptodactylidae); Chiasmocleis and Hamptophryne boliviana (Microhylidae), among others (Thurber and Perez 2006). Reptiles (lizards, blind shingles, alligators, snakes, and turtles) are represented in 14 families, 28 genera and 39 species . The Caimans (Caiman crocodilus, Melanosuchus niger), the anacondas (Eunectes murinus) and the boas (Boa ssp) are characteristic in the area. The large charapa (Podocnemis expansa) presents a category of threat by the excess colection of their eggs; while the little charapa (Podocnemis unifilis) is classified under low risk status (Younes 2006).

 

Fishes

The ichthyofauna in the Reserve includes 93 species, equivalent to 15% of the total diversity (600 species) of the Amazon Region. A high relative abundance of commercial species such as the croaker (Plagoscion squamosisimus), the bocachico (Prochilodus nigricans), the tucunari (Cichla ocellaris), among others, denotes the fish potential Lake Limoncocha.

 

Arthropods

Thousands of species of insects and other arthropods call Limoncocha home.

 

LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE: tarantulas are nocturnal spidersLIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE: whipspiders are related to scorpions

A nocturnal excursion to experience the creatures of the night. Tarantulas come out of their burrows at night, but as soon as you get close to them, they retreat.

Commonly called whip spiders or tailless scorpions, they are related to spiders, but still very different. They are among the many jungle creatures that you can only see at night.

 

LIMONCOCHA BIOLOGICAL RESERVE

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