Yasuni National Park
|Yasuni National Park|
Napo and Pastaza province
|Established||July 26, 1979|
Yasuni National Park is in Ecuador with an area of 9,820 km2 between the Napo and Curaray rivers in Napo and Pastaza provinces in Amazonian Ecuador. The park is about 250 km from Quito and was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1989. It is within the claimed ancestral territory of the Huaorani indigenous people.
Yasuni National Park is arguably the most biologically diverse spot on Earth. The park is at the center of a small zone where amphibian, bird, mammal, and vascular plant diversity all reach their maximum levels within the Western Hemisphere. Moreover, the park breaks world records for local-scale (less than 100 km2) tree, amphibian, and bat species richness, and is one of the richest spots in the world for birds and mammals at local scales as well.
The park holds a world record 150 amphibian species for places with comparable landscapes. It also is in the top for amphibian diversity compared to other sites sampled in the western Amazon. The total of its amphibian species are more than the United States and Canada combined. Reptile species in the park is also very high with 121 documented species found. In spite of covering less than 0.15% of the Amazon Basin, Yasuni is home to approximately one-third of amphibian and reptile species. The park also harbors high levels of fish diversity with 382 known species. This number is greater than the amount of fish species found in the whole Mississippi River Basin. Yasuni also is home to at least 596 bird species which comprises one-third of the total native bird species for the Amazon. The park is also very rich with many species of bats. On a regional scale, the Amazon Basin has an estimated 117 bat species but on a local scale, Yasuni is estimated to have comparable richness. In a single hectare, Yasuni has over 100,000 different species of insects which is roughly the amount of insect species that can be found in all of North America. The park also boasts one of the world’s richest levels of vascular plants. It is one of nine places in the world that has over 4,000 vascular plant species per 10,000 km2. The park contains many species of trees and shrubs and holds at least four world records for documented tree and liana richness as well as three world records for diversity in woody plant species. The park also hosts a list endemic species such as 43 different species of vertebrates and 220–720 different plant species.
Drilling controversy 
There has been extensive controversy over the construction of "oil" roads by Texaco for the exploitation and production of petroleum within the park. Famous scientists including Jane Goodall, E.O. Wilson, and Stuart Pimm have protested against this construction.
Since June 2007, the Ecuadorian government has been promoting the Yasuní-ITT Initiative, a proposal that seeks to leave the Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha (ITT) oil fields untapped under the core of Yasuni National Park in exchange for compensation from the international community for lost revenue. The government will receive, in turn, an international compensation fund equivalent to at least of 50% of the profits that it would receive were it to exploit the reserves.
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Edward Norton, global ecologist, writer, filmmaker and activist Dr. Michael Charles Tobias, and former Vice President of the United States Al Gore are supporting the Ecuadorian government. Some of the donors thus far have included other countries, such as Turkey, Chile, Colombia, Georgia, Australia, Spain and Belgium.
See also 
- Margot S. Bass; Matt Finer; Clinton N. Jenkins; Holger Kreft; Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia; Shawn F. McCracken; Nigel C. A. Pitman; Peter H. English; Kelly Swing; Gorky Villa; Anthony Di Fiore; Christian C. Voigt; Thomas H. Kunz (2010). "Global Conservation Significance of Ecuador's Yasuní National Park". Public Library of Science 5 (1). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008767. Retrieved 06-07-2011.
- Finer M, Vijay V, Ponce F, Jenkins CN, and Kahn TR. 2009. Ecuador's Yasuní Biosphere Reserve: a brief modern history and conservation challenges, Environmental Research Letters 4: 034005.
- copy of latter available on website of Save America's Forests
- Finer, M., R. Moncel, C.N. Jenkins. 2010. Leaving the Oil Under the Amazon: Ecuador's Yasuní-ITT Initiative., Biotropica 42:63-66.
- [dead link]
- Leonardo DiCaprio and Edward Norton join Sea Eco-Conference, Contactmusic, 2010-04-13, retrieved 2012-03-14
- Al Gore viajará a Ecuador para respaldar iniciativa ecuatoriana Yasuní-ITT, americaeconomia.com, 2010-11-04, retrieved 2012-03-14
Further reading 
- Greenberg, J. A., S. C. Kefauver, H. C. Stimson, C. J. Yeaton, and S. L. Ustin. 2005. Survival analysis of a neotropical rainforest using multitemporal satellite imagery. Remote Sensing of Environment 96(2):202-211.
- Hennessy, L. A. (2000). Whither the Huaorani? competing interventions in indigenous Ecuador. Master’s thesis, Berkeley, University of California, Berkeley.
- Lu, F. E. (1999). Changes in subsistence patterns and resource use of the Huaorani Indians in the Ecuadorian Amazon. PhD dissertation. Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- Pitman, N. C. A. (2000). A large-scale inventory of two Amazonian tree communities. PhD dissertation. Durham, Duke University.
- Vogel, J.H. (2009). The economics of the Yasuní Initiative: climate change as if thermodynamics mattered. London, Anthem Press.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Yasuni National Park|
- “Opinion: Yasuní and the New Economics of Climate Change” CNN. Edition: International. August 23, 2010.
- Yasuni Green Gold Campaign to save the park and its indigenous people
- Yasuni Campaign by New Internationalist
- Yasuni Campaign by Ecuadorian civil society organizations - Amazonia por la Vida
- Background article at Deutsche Welle climate-project 'Global Ideas' on Ecuador's controversial plan to refrain from drilling for oil in its rainforests in return for money.
- Deutsche Welle report on Yasuni National Park