|Threats to the Reserve |
Despite its status as a protected area and the international recognition of its ecological importance, the reserve is under threat from a number of different areas. The responsibility for the protection of the reserve lies with a small team of park rangers who are charged with patrolling the reserves borders and preventing illegal incursions by loggers, poachers and colonists. The pressures on the reserve by these groups have grown in recent years as a result of population growth and natural resource depletion in the areas bordering the reserve. Unfortunately it is often the case that the park rangers struggle to patrol the long borders of the reserve and are ill equipped to manage conflicts when they arise.
During the early 1990s areas of the reserve and its buffer zone were included in a mineral surveying program called PRODEMINCA which was partially funded by the World Bank and aimed to support the development of extractive industries in Ecuador. This program has resulted in protests from communities living in the surveyed areas who are concerned that the publication of maps of mineral deposits will attract independent miners to the area. To date these protests have been successful in preventing publication of the project data and have also resulted in the withdrawal of international mining interests from Intag, an area of cloud forest which lies to the Southeast of the Reserve. Following a request by DECOIN a grassroots organisation working in Intag the World Bank launched an investigation into the project which concluded that several of the banks guidelines related to environmental assessment had been breached.