Illinizas Ecological Reserve 1/2
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Ilinizas Reserve has a significant wealth of flora and fauna, as well as water resources, which are used for power generation in the central area of Ecuador.

photo: P1X_

The Ilinizas Ecological Reserve is located in the provinces of Cotopaxi, Latacunga cantonal jurisdictions of: La Mana, Pujilí, Sigchos and Pangu; in Pichincha with jurisdiction in the canton Mejia, Los Ríos, and Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, Canton Alluriquín. It has an area of ​​149,900 hectares and an altitudinal range of 800-5265 meters above sea level.


Its name stands for The Ilinizas volcanoes, which means in Atacama language: Cerro Varón (Male hill). Formerly Ilinizas shaped a single elevation, but its eruptions split the elevation in two peaks: south Summit peak, 5305 meters, and north summit, 5116 meters.


The vegetation in the reserve includes endemic species, important for the in area. In the spurs of the Cordillera Occidental is located the foothill evergreen forest, between the 300 and 1,300 meters above sea level. This formation has large concentrations of epiphytes ("air plants" that don’t rooted on the ground but do so on another plant) and on top of the zone dominate plants as palms, cedars and Matapalo.


The humid montane scrubland is another vegetal formation between 2,000 and 3,000 m, however, much of the topsoil has been replaced by eucalyptus forests. There are native flora formations consisting of shrubs, especially in ravines and slopes. There is also the presence of shrubs such as chilca, zapatito (small shoe), campanero (Ringer), among others.


On the other hand, the montane cloud forest is also the habitat for epiphytes such as orchids, ferns and bromeliads. This formation is located between 1,800 and 3,000 meters and has trees such as cedar, wax palm, bush palm, among others.


At the north and center of the Cordillera Occidental is the herbaceous paramo with an altitude range that goes from the 3,400 to 4,000 meters. This area consists of small shrubs and grassland. Also, it is make up by plant species such as efusa, cacho de venado (deer horn) and others that are found around the lagoons and marshes, like amohadillas (shub land full of water).
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