Mining concessions cover two-thirds of the Reserve.
E. O. Wilson, Jane Goodall, Peter Raven, and Rosemary and Peter Grant, along with more than 1,200 scientists from all over the world have called for mining activities to cease at Los Cedros Reserve and Ecuador’s other Protected Forests.
The campaign launched by the Center for Biological Diversity in July.
The signatories expressed their concern about mining in the exceptional diversity of Ecuador’s Protected Forests, and specifically requested that all mining concessions be removed from Protected Forests (Bosques Protectores), including Reserva Los Cedros. They also asked that Los Cedros Reserve be included in the National Park, Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve, with which it shares a border.
The letter was sent to mining companies whose activities threatens the Los Cedros Reserve, including Canadian company Cornerstone Capital Resources, BHP and the Ecuadorian state mining company ENAMI.
Mining concessions cover two-thirds of the Reserve. There has been an ongoing legal campaign against ENAMI and Cornerstone Capital Resources since 2017. The Ecuadorian Constitutional Court agreed in May to hear the case based on the Rights of Nature enshrined in the Constitution.
Bitty Roy, professor of biology at the University of Oregon and one of a number of scientists for whom Los Cedros is a research base, said: “Reserva Los Cedros is well known for its globally critically endangered brown-headed spider monkeys and endangered spectacled bears, but there are at least 207 species at Los Cedros that are under threat according to Ecuador’s red lists.
"This includes 70 near threatened, 103 vulnerable to extinction, 29 endangered and 5 critically endangered species. The reserve also encompasses the headwaters of four rivers."
The Constitutional Court said that it hoped to set a precedent concerning mining in Protected Forests using the Rights of Nature. The Court specifically cited the biodiversity at Los Cedros, and the presence of, “the last populations of the spider monkey in a critical state of conservation, and the Andean (spectacled) bear [which is] in danger of extinction”.
Marianne Brooker is The Ecologist's content editor. This article is based on a press release from Save Los Cedros Reserve.