A Look at Ecuador’s Majestic Protected Sites and Pristine Coral Reefs
Ecuador has long been known as one of the world’s richest biospheres, but not necessarily due to the coral reefs present along the coastal area of the Ecuador mainland.
The area where you can find the most beautiful, diverse and well-developed reefs in Ecuador is actually represented by the Galapagos Islands, a protected region that has tremendous ecological and historic value and significance.
Coral Communities in Ecuador
The coral communities along Ecuador’s mainland region are mainly constituted by small areas where coral growth is quite limited, and one truly imposing reef near Machalilla. The Machalilla Ramsar Site is quite sizable, at about 550 square kilometers, and has been a protected region in Ecuador since the year 1990.
The Galapagos Islands are a province of Ecuador, and have been recognized as a UNESCO Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve for decades. This is, in fact, one of the largest protected areas in the world, and home to a large array of endangered marine life, including endemic corals and various associated species that are subject to a variety of anthropogenic pressures and difficult natural climates.
An important detail about coral reefs in the Galapagos is that this is the place within Ecuador’s boundaries where reefs are best developed. This is a consequence of the flow of the South Equatorial Current, a surface current fed from the east by the Peru Coastal current, thus facilitating nutrient-rich waters that have been responsible for feeding the growth of reef development in the Galapagos for centuries.