Ecuador | Río Negro-Sopladora NP created; protects alpine tundra, forests
On Jan. 23, a new national park joined Ecuador's 54 protected areas. Río Negro-Sopladora National Park lies in southern Ecuador's Morona Santiago and Azuay provinces within the Cordillera Real Oriental mountain range and next to Sangay National Park. The area is dominated by almost-intact Andean páramos—treeless alpine plateaus—and forests that are home to a great variety of animal and plant species.
Because of the region's biological and hydrological importance, Ecuador's Ministry of the Environment and the non-governmental organization Nature and Culture International (NCI) signed an agreement in 2017 to incorporate 30,616 hectares of the Río Negro-Sopladora area into the state-owned Heritage Natural Areas Subsystem and the National System of Protected Areas Project in Ecuador. On Jan. 23 in the city of Macas, in Morona Santiago Province, Minister of the Environment Tarsicio Granizo declared the new national park in front of 300 guests.