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Research analyses how changes in land use affects the ecosystem of the Andean mountain rainforest (top left), analyses the processes, functions and services of the dry forest (top right), and the Páramo (bottom left) and monitors the diverse organisms in these ecosystems (bottom right).

The platform for biodiversity, ecosystem monitoring and research in South Ecuador is a German-Ecuadorian joint venture of interdisciplinary research and knowledge transfer. Investigating three ecosystems in South Ecuador, the teams aim to understand impacts of global change (mainly atmospheric nutrient deposition related to land use changes) on processes, functions and services of the megadiverse ecosystems of the Andean mountain rainforest, the dry forest and the Páramo. Regarding knowledge transfer the program aims on implementing and further testing options for sustainable land use. At the same time, research has been started towards a novel functional monitoring system indicating impacts of environmental changes on ecosystem functions in the sense of an early warning system. The prototype indicator system under development shall be implemented on a broad scale in cooperation with non-university partners for use by relevant stakeholders in policy and development planning.


Research and knowledge transfer is funded by two national research foundations, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and its Ecuadorian partner organization Secretaría Nacional de Educación Superior, Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación (SENESCYT) , as well as by four Ecuadorian non-university partners (NCI, FORAGUA, ETAPA and Gestión Ambiental Zamora)

History and Partners

In research funding, the platform marks a new and advanced step of cooperation as all involved organizations are funding joint German-Ecuadorian projects for the first time in parallel and on a larger scale. The Research Platform was inaugurated in Cuenca on 16 October 2014 based on more than 17 years of intensive research into biodiversity and ecology of the South Ecuadorian Andes. In 1997, a small group of German researchers funded by the DFG began to investigate the biodiversity-rich mountain rain forests. From 2001 the first DFG Research Unit (FOR402) operated with a significantly larger consortium. A second Research Unit (FOR816) continued from 2007 to 2013. Over the years, cooperation with Ecuadorian partners has gradually been intensified including the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (UTPL), the Universidad Nacional de Loja (UNL), the Universidad del Azuay (UDA), the Universidad de Cuenca, the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Ecuador (PUCE), the foundation Nature and Culture International (NCI), the city enterprise of Cuenca (ETAPA EP), the regional water fund FORAGUA, and the environmental department of the city of Zamora. Two more knowledge transfer projects funded by DFG are closely linked to the platform: The program "Nuevos Bosques para Ecuador" and "Radar Net Sur" which are cooperating with the government of the province Loja (GPL) and private land owners.

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