YASUNÍ NATIONAL PARK AND BIOSPHERE RESERVE
the most diverse place on earth
What is the Yasuní National Park and Biosphere Reserve?
The Yasuní National Park and Biosphere Reserve is an Ecuadorian National Park where local flora and fauna are protected. It is renowned for its great beauty and biodiversity.
Yasuní is located in eastern Ecuador, in the provinces of Orellana and Pastaza. It is part of the Amazon Basin, which drains much of South America. It is mostly defined by the course of the Napo and Curaray Rivers.
The Park covers 9,820 square kilometers, or 3,792 square miles. Located in the eastern foothills of the Andes, the park slopes down gently from west to east and is known for the many rivers and creeks that carry water from the mountains into the Amazon system. The park contains three macro-level ecosystems: “Terra Firme,” or lands too high to flood, Várzea forest (seasonal floodplains) and “Igapo,” wetlands which are at least partially flooded much of the time.
Yasuní is home to thousands of species of trees and plants. Researchers estimate that there are as many as 100 different species of tree per acre in Yasuní: by way of comparison, it’s uncommon to find more than 20 species of tree per acre in North America. The varieties of plants include trees, bromeliads, vines, orchids, ferns and much, much more.
As the most biodiverse place on Earth, Yasuní is home to thousands of species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects. Some of the more spectacular ones include:
- Much, much more
Yasuní was named a National Park of Ecuador in 1979 and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1989.
Yasuní National Park is home to two uncontacted native tribes: the Tagaeri and the Taromenane. There are only a handful of members of each tribe remaining. The Tagaeri and Taremenane live in deliberate isolation, preferring to have no contact with the modern world. They live deep in the jungle, hunting and fishing, just like their ancestors did in this region for thousands of years. The Ecuadorian constitution specifically respects their right to live in the park on their own without any outside interference.
Oil in Yasuní
There is a great deal of oil under the ground in Yasuní. An initiative under which Ecuador would not drill for this oil and would instead collect money from the international community failed in 2014, paving the way for oil extraction in the region.