Podocarpus National Park 1/2
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At the southeast of Ecuador, specifically in the province of Zamora Chinchipe, is one of the richest areas of the world for its diverse flora and fauna.



The Podocarpus National Park is a Protected Area, declared Botanical Garden of America. In this wonderful place can be seen trees that have 40 meters high, over 560 bird species, close to 100 lakes and countless species of orchids.


This ecosystem with landscapes, with enormous biological diversity, is located on the border between the provinces of Loja and Zamora Chinchipe, in the region Numbala and the  Nudo de Sabanilla. It has an area of ​​146,280 hectares and an altitude range from 900 to 3600 m.a.s.l. The upper area temperature is 12 º C and in the low zones is 18 º C. Podocarpus was declared National Park on December 15, 1982 by Ministerial Agreement No. A-0398.


The park's name corresponds to a tree species, known as "Romerillo" (Podocarpus Montanus). It's a huge conifer forest that is adapted to the tropical Andes. Podocarpus can have a height of 39 meters and can live  till  1000 years. The Romerillos or Podocarpus are endangered by extreme exploitation of its valuable timber.


One of the most outstanding areas of the park is the Puyango Petrified Forest,  located between 360 and 500 m.a.s.l. Millions of years ago the Puyango area was sea. There have been registered fossils and sedimentary rocks for marine organisms. Probably the fossils recently found, have an age that varies between 60 and 500 million years.


The name of the forest obeys the presence of fossilized trees and petrified trees with heights over 15 meters and a diameter of 2 meters. "According to Shoemaker, a renowned paleobotanic who estudied the area between 1975 and 1976, the number of petrified logs contained in the compact area represents one of the largest collections of its kind in the world, comparable perhaps with the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, United States. "


The main plants species in the zone of the Podocarpus National Park are: the ragwort, laurel, Aguacolla, Ubilla, black elderberry, pumamaqui, sapan, myrtle, cashoco, alder, acacia, sage, guanto blanco,  cedar, higuerilla , walnut, yumbingue and cinnamon.


Ecuador is a country blessed by having one of the greatest diversity of birds in relation to their area. Have been identified within the country, 107 regions where there is presence of endemic and migratory species. Podocarpus National Park is home of more than 500 species of birds such as hummingbirds, chachaquitos (small fruit birds. The Black Cheek Chachaquito produce exotic sounds), Coti white (Furnariidae family relative, these birds make their nests of leaves and branches giving it a unique basket shape, others dig holes in the ground and the most interesting are the bakers, who make their nests with mud with oven shape), fruit yellow eyebrow bird , parrots, toucans and other species.


how to get there

From the city of Loja and Vilcabamba village you can access the Podocarpus National Park, only half an hour's drive far.

There are several Access to the Podocarpus National Park, one of the best known is by the road Loja-Vilcabamba.

Another access is by the road Loja-Valladolid which goes to Cajanuma Administrative Center.


To arrive at the Toledo hill you should leave from Yambala population, at the south of the reserve, and take the road to Numbala Alto.


Bombuscaro forest is accessible by turning on Romerillos detour, by the road Loja-Zamora.
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