Priorities of action and research for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services in Ecuador

Related GLP Member: Janina Kleemann, Christine Fürst


Ecuador belongs to the megadiverse countries of the world. However, the high diversity in species, ecosystems and their services are under threat by land use changes, invasive species, overexploitation, pollution and climate change. There is a need to monitor, manage, protect and improve biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES) in Ecuador; however, Ecuador is marginally represented in the international policy-science interface for the protection of BES. We analyzed 266 international peer-reviewed papers that were published between 2000 and 2020 to assess the current impact of human disturbance and climate change on BES in continental Ecuador. We found that there were more studies available on the impact of human disturbance on BES than on climate change effects. Birds represented the most studied taxon in Ecuador (70 studies), whereas the total amount of available international scientific publications for other Ecuadorian plant and animal taxa were rather low (< 34 studies) and spatially and thematically scattered. Among ecosystem services, water provision was analyzed relatively often. Our literature review revealed that there is a need to conduct more studies on impacts of human disturbance and climate change on BES. Further research is needed; particularly in the coastal hinterland, in the central Andes and in the Amazon. We suggest that the investment of time, resources and effort into the documentation, standardization, sharing, and publishing of data are key towards supporting the monitoring and maintenance of BES.