Botanist Lou Jost, who has been surveying the orchids on FJ reserves for the past few years, has been working on three important botanical sites in the Pastaza valley, in an unprotected strip of forest between Sangay and Llanganates National Parks, which the WLT will be raising funds for to protect. One small area of limestone gorge along the Rio Anzu was found to contain a spectacular display of thousands of slipper orchids and while there Lou Jost discovered about 20 new species of Teagueia orchids, and a further 25 in a genus which previously had only 6 known species. (For further information visit Lou’s website: www.loujost.com)
Meanwhile, WLT-US is providing funds to EcoMinga Foundation, where Lou Jost is a biodiversity specialist, to identify, purchase and mange critical sites for the conservation of endangered orchids in Ecuador. One of the priority areas is the Mera forest in central Ecuador. Situated between the Andes and the Amazon basin, this is a rich center of endemism providing home to 51 unique plant species endemic to this very small area.