Project Reserva Rio Anzu

  • Rio Anzu and Fundaçion EcoMinga (
    : Be sure to follow this link and read all about Fundaçion EcoMinga. It is amazing what Lou Jost has done.)
  • A new genus of orchids, several new species of frogs, and a new tree species have been discovered in this reserve.
  • From the January 2013 OCA Newsletter recounting our Orchids in the Wild trip to Ecuador

November 10: We spent the day with Lou Jost visiting the Reserve Rio Anzu outside Baños near the town of Mera . This reserve was OCA’s founding project in 2006.

Lou Jost is an interesting guy, a combination of idealistic conservationist, botanical explorer, and math nerd. He started his conservation career as a bird guide in Central America and kept going south in search of ever greater biodiversity. His math talents have led to new ways to quantitatively describe biodiversity.

He refers to the Baños area as an island in the sky; an island because it is isolated by mountains and in the sky because it is at such high elevation. The biodiversity there is astonishing. Lou noted that the Galapagos Islands are justly famous due to the fact that they have 150 endemic species. Yet, the Baños area has over 160 endemic species and is still being explored.

The Reserva Rio Anzu is one of several reserves now managed by the Fundación Ecominga, which Lou was critical to organizing. The Rio Anzu reserve protects a limestone canyon and a large number of colonies of Phrag. pearcei. The mile or so hike in the reserve to the Rio Anzu had many interesting non-orchidaceous plants. Happily, the constellations were aligned and there were lots of blooming Phrag. pearcei when we got to the river.