Pacoche Forest

“In October 2008, the Ecuadorian Environmental Ministry recognized this area as a high value conservation area for forests located in the Pacoche hills and four miles from the coastal marine.” (PMRVSCP, MAE, 2009-2014).

Located just 20 minutes away from the city of Manta, the Pacoche forest is a green patch in the middle of a semi-desert area of the coast of Manabí. It has a unique microclimate where there are countless species characteristics of the area, such as the howler and the capuchin monkeys, and more than 250 species of birds, from which 55 are endemic to the area.  Its characteristic flora houses trees like the Caña Guadúa, the Toquilla; which originates the famous Hats of Straw Toquilla, and the Cade; which originates the TAGUA crafts.

The Marine, Coastal and Coastal Wildlife Refuge Pacoche has 13.445Ha as land and marine protected area.

The private reserve of Pacoche belongs to the Refuge with an extension of 10Ha. Under a new administration, it opens its doors in January 2014, with the aim of contributing to the conservation of the place, its flora and fauna, and especially, in order to maintain the physical space necessary for the life of several families of howler and capuchino monkeys, who depends on the forest for their well being.

Flora and fauna

Pacoche is recognized for harboring large numbers of endemic species, many of which are threatened due to the high degree of deforestation and fragmentation of their natural habitats.

On July 26, 2015, a scientific study was presented on the status of endangered primate species in the area: Alouatta palliata aequatorialis and Cebus aequatorialis, at the Pacoche Wildlife Refuge (Surveying Two Endangered Primate Species (Alouatta palliata aequatorialis and Cebus aequatorialis in the Pacoche Marine and Coastal Wildlife Refuge, West Ecuador Laura Cervera Diego J. Lizcano Diego G. Tirira Giuseppe Donat Int J Primatol DOI 10.1007 / s10764-015-9864-y Springer Science + Business Media New York 2015)

This study was conducted in July 2012, in which it was evidenced the existence of a family of howler monkeys over 18 km Sampled, reaching approximately 620 individuals of this species. With respect to the capuchin monkeys, a specific population could not be estimated, since they were observed in three different sectors and in a minimum density. The following important considerations are set out in the report and are part of the need for a new study of the population of these primates in the area, more so after the last January 2016, with the death of several individuals:

– To provide accurate information on the status of endangered primates in threatened habitats, it is essential to provide the basis for conservation actions and for specific management plans (Agostini et al., 2006; Plumptre and Cox 2006).

– “Ecuador is the smallest megadiverse country (284 km2) and it is ranked 17th as the most biodiverse country in the world (Mast et al., 1999)”.

– “The low detection rate of C. aequatorialis highlights the need for immediate conservation actions for this species”.

– “The correlation between howler monkeys and foliage cover underscores the need to preserve remnant forest and its connectivity by establishing stricter controls on the extraction of natural resources to avoid further habitat loss (Anzures Dadda -Manson and 2007, Arroyo-Rodríguez and Dias 2010). “

– “The ongoing commitment of the community is needed to increase local knowledge and foster a perception of ownership; Which could lead to better protection of the area and improve the conservation status of primate populations. Specifically, such programs should raise awareness of the importance of preserving native species, explain the negative effects of illegal activities occurring in the area, and increase awareness of the fauna and flora of the Pacoche refuge.


The Pacoche forest is surrounded by several local communities vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as: Liguiqui, San Lorenzo, Pacoche, Las Piñas, Pile, Santa Marianita, Santa Rosa and El Aromo.  These communities have a population of 2000 inhabitants among them. Lack of awareness of environmental issues permanently exposes them to conditions that affect their opportunities for development and progress.

According to the Environmental Management Plan of the Coastal Marine Wildlife Refuge Pacoche, 2008 the distribution table of these communities is: