Education Needed in Puyango-Tumbes River Basin

Education is urgently needed to protect biodiversity in the Puyango-Tumbes river basin in the border region of Ecuador and Peru, writes CEC member Bertha Cecilia Garcia Cienfuegos.

National Reserve of Tumbes / Reserva Nacional de Tumbes

By Bertha Garcia, Universidad Nacional de Tumbes - Perú

The Binational Puyango-Tumbes Basin is bordered by the Tumbes Region in the northwest of Peru and the counties of Loja and El Oro in the southeast of Ecuador. This important river basin embraces three protected natural areas: the National Sanctuary of Margrove Tumbes, the National Reserve of Tumbes and the National Park Amotape’s Hills. It is the beginning a Drift of Territorial Classification and Ecological Zonification.

It has been determined that the preservation of biological diversity requires that we urgently begin the handling and treatment of the most sensitive elements. Action is needed to avoid deterioration of some species and extinction of other species. It is considered indispensable to design strategies for conservation and sustainable use with mechanisms of participation of the local population.

An evaluation according to the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria version 3.1, determined that in the vegetable formations of dry thorny heath, forest deciduo and forest semideciduo:

  • The native forest species Centrolobium ochroxylum, Laxopterigium huasango, Zizipus thyrsiflora, is in danger of extinction;
  • Bursera graveolens, Myroxylon peruiferum y Alseis peruviana, is in vulnerability situation;
  • Triplaris cumingiana,  is in determination situation.

The evaluation concludes that an important aspect of conservation strategies is the systematizing of biogeographic territory and taxonomy identification of different native species that are part of the biodiversity that have ethnobotanic value.

The conservation of and sustainable handling of this important basin should be considered inside the agenda of the binational plans of Ecuador and Peru. This will help in efforts to plan experiences and learning opportunities, strengthen the capacities of local populations, and promote the construction of one vision where conservation and development go hand-in-hand. In this process, education is a very important strategy to bring about change in the attitudes and aptitudes of the population in for a more effective handling of biodiversity.

To date, work on the this biodiversity issue has been carried out through the Committee of Management Amotape Hills National Park and Tumbes National Reserve, which has been operating in coordination with Regional Directorate of Education and National Service of Protected Areas by the State (SERNANP) - Tumbes. Although issues have been addressed, such as morfotaxonómica characterization of forest species, it is necessary to continue training about issues related to the ethnobotanical value of species, especially among school children and civil society. One proposal, with a view to teacher education, is the creation of a Binational Botanical Garden, in which we plant for genetic conservation of our forest resources. The garden would be particularly aimed at preserving endangered species, communicating conservation issues and raising awareness in our communities.

For more information, contact Bertha Cecilia Garcia Cienfuegos at

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