// Ecuador's Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve and Ecolodge: Spectacled bears, birding, coffee tour, hiking - Maquipucuna Reserve

Maquipucuna Reserve

The Maquipucuna Reserve – located just 50 miles northwest of Quito, within the Metropolitan Disctrict of Quito- is the gateway to the Chocó Andean Corridor, one of the earth’s top three biodiversity hotspots.  Established in 1988, the Maquipucuna Reserve became Ecuador’s first protected area established by a non-profit organization.

The reserve has 14,000 acres of cloud forests of indescribable beauty and ecological value that stretch from 2950 to 8800 feet above sea level . Ten percent (10%) of Ecuador’s plant diversity, as well as over 20% of Ecuador’s bird diversity have been registered at the Maquipucuna Reserve. The 

Maquipucuna  Cloudforest

Maquipucuna Reserve is the only mid-elevation forest close to Quito where Spectacled Bears have been sighted during several months every year.

Dr. Grady L. Webster described the Maquipucuna Reserve as the “Crown Jewel of the Andes” due to its unique biological richness.  Quito is fortunate to have such natural marvel, which easily makes the city, the “World Capital of Biodiversity.”

The northern part of the reserve offers world class ecotourism facilities. The Maquipucuna Ecolodge and Research Station, which are part of the Thomas Davis Ecotourism Center, were built thanks to the kind contribution of Mr. Thomas Butler and the Butler Foundation in memory of his dear friend Mr. Thomas H. Davis.


Impact of Deforestation

The impact from illegal poaching is still one of the main threats to the Maquipucuna Reserve, due to the high level corruption at the different governmental entities, including the National Forestry Direction at the Ministry of the Environment. Despite that factual reality an 80% of the deforestation surrounding the protected area, has been slowed down. With the help of people like you, we will combat corruption.

 Scientific Quotes

“Maquipucuna is the jewel in the crown of the andes, due to the best inventoried protected area.”

Dr. Grady L. Webster, Herbarium – University of California, Davis USA 


Visit the eco-Lodge


Research Station

Maquipucuna Reserve & Foundation has hosted many researchers at the Thomas H. Davis Research Station and/or related Maquipucuna's conservation projects, which are listed under Publications.Maquipucuna-estacion_cientifica

Accommodations and facilities include a tourist lodge (Thomas H. Davis Research & Ecoturism Center) situated on a clean, free-flowing river and housing for up to 38 people. In addition, there is a separate scientific research station for 20 people and an adjoining laboratory. Public space is available for meetings or instruction (the Foundation encourages educational programs and courses).  Meals are served to all visitors and are based on local recipes. A network of trails allows tourists and scientists to easily access a variety of natural habitats in different stages of succession. Interpretive materials are being developed for the Reserve and library resources are available at the Foundation's office in Quito.


Research Projects

The Maquipucuna Reserve manages thousands of hectares of primary cloud forest, extremely rich in epiphytes, many of which have not been identified. The total number of plant species exceeds 2200 or 13% of Ecuador's plant diversity.  The Reserve harbours at least 350 species of birds or 4% or the earth's bird diversity. 45 species of mammals and more than 250 species of butterflies also inhabit the reserve. Other groups have yet to be studied in detail.


Visiting Researchers

Aside from inventory work, there is an infinite number of questions that need to be answered about cloud forest ecology and conservation. The Maquipucuna Foundation encourages scientists of all types to conduct studies on basic natural history and especially on applied topics which can be related to improving management of natural and cultural resources in and around the Reserve.

  Geographic Information System

 An important resource for researchers is the environmental information system being established by Maquipucuna, which today counts with a most comprehensive GIS data base for the entire Choco-Andean Region.


Publications at the Maquipucuna Reserve:
  1. Becker,Jay, MSc. Survivorship and Growth of Prestoa Acuminata (Palmae) in varying light environments of lower et montane forest. University of Georgia, 1995.
  2. Bernstein, Nancy, MSc. Psychology
  3. Eckert, Gregory Eric, PhD. Ecological interactions in forest restoration in lower montane Ecuador. UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA, 1998.
  4. Galloway , Amy, PhD. Psychology
  5. Hirsch, Paul. MSc. The importance of place in a mobile society. University of Georgia, 2002
  6. Lash Abigail, PhD. School of Forestry, University of Georgia, 2002
  7. Rhoades, Charles Campbell, PhD Soil carbon and nitrogen changes following conversion of Ecuadorian lower montane forest to pasture. UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA, 1997.
  8. Saiia, David Hugh, PhD Strategic philanthropy: Corporate resources for the public good? UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA, 1999.
  9. Sarmiento, Fausto O., PhD.  Seed dispersal for landscape restoration in the Tropandean region of Ecuador UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA, 1996.
  10. Thom, Theresa Anne, MSc. Land Use and Aquatic Ecosystem Health in the Andean Slopes of Northwestern Ecuador, University of Georgia.  2000
  11. Shana Urdvardy (PhD) Ecologically based stream risk assessment and management.
  12. Scott Connelly (PhD) Biodiversity and ecology of frog populations
  13. Alex Reynolds (MS) Tissue culture and risk management of orchid reintroduction
  14. Marty Maxwell (MA) Photojournalism analysis of the Chocó-Andean Corridor.
  15. Rebeca Justicia (PhD) Carbon trading in rainforest ecoregional conservation

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