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Ecology & Nature
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ecology
Mangrove forests are found at the edge of tropical oceans and are vital for healthy coastal ecosystems.




Mangrove forests and salt marshes provide food and a home for fish, shellfish, mollusks, wildfowl and threatened marine mammals; and are also important for stabilizing the shoreline from erosion.

Over the past several decades, the mangrove forests have increasingly diminished as a result of a variety of human activities. Today, mangrove forests are among the most threatened habitats in the world. The rapidly expanding industrial shrimp farming industry is one of the direct causes of the deforestation of Ecuador's mangroves. In recent years, 207,000 hectares of lush mangrove forests have been cleared to make room for artificial shrimp ponds. (From The Ecuadorian National Coordination for the Defense of Mangroves)

The megadiverse cloud forest is located on the slopes of Ecuador's Andes mountains and range in altitude from 1000 to 2500 meters. The vegetation is characterized by trees that range from 9 to 25 meters high. The most well known plants of this forest are guandera, quishuar and wild avocado. Other plant species of this forest are orchids, lycopodia, lichens, ferns, moss, bromeliads, liverworts, etc.

In the inter-Andean valleys the original vegetation has unfortunately been replaced by cultivation and constructions because the majority of the big towns and cities are located in these valleys. The original vegetation is characterized by algarrobos, podocarpus, epiphytes, black cabuyo, guarango, white leaf and chamano.

The paramo (alpine tundra) contains scrubland, herbaceous vegetation and woody shrubs, frailejones, chuquiraguas, wild rosemary and valerian.

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