With a population of 2,671,191 at 2,850 meters above sea level in the Andes Mountains, Ecuador‘s capital is not only the world’s second-highest capital city (after La Paz, Bolivia) but is also a global leader in urban forest conservation. Quito has a history of working to protect and restore forests for the benefit of city residents. Situated in one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, Quito continues to lead the way in creating linkages between forests in and around the city, and their benefits to people.
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“Quito is a city that grows together with its nature, where trees and forests are treated as an integral component in planning nature-based solutions for sustainable development. We are thrilled to be part of Cities4Forests as it will be a great support to continue our work in ensuring ecosystem services and connecting rural and urban areas.”
Ex-mayor of Quito, Ecuador
Quito’s Development Plan (2012- 2022) calls for an equitable, sustainable and participatory city – and envisages a “green Quito” to improve environmental quality and to mitigate the effects of climate change. Change is already on the urban horizon. Gardens are springing up on rooftops in parts of Quito. Alongside urban agriculture projects, the government of Ecuador is encouraging the use of native plants in sustainable building projects and supporting initiatives to help build a more resilient city.
Together with the Human Cities Coalition, Quito municipality created the Ruta de la Experiencia – a route from the main congress center to the La Mariscal neighbourhood that has been transformed from a road dominated by cars into a pedestrian and cycling-friendly green zone.
Embracing its position as the highest capital city in the world, Quito offers the opportunity to have your feet on the ground and your head in the clouds – quite literally. Journey from the colonial city streets to the cloud forest jungle to discover the verdant slopes and cloud forests of the Andes, where more than 330 species of birds make their nests and the bright orchid flowers catch your attention.
The Andean Bear - The Emblem of Quito
A few years ago, a three-month-old orphaned bear cub in poor health, was rescued in the subtropical forests of Quito, Ecuador. The cub was transferred to a zoo and baptized as Yumbo, in honor of the ancestral culture of this region which emphasised living harmoniously with nature. Once the cub reached maturity, he was released back into the forest with a GPS collar for monitoring. Thanks to this tracking, it is estimated that, together with Yumbo, there are 45 Andean bears to the northwest of Quito, facing threats from human activity, deforestation and hunting. To improve the bears’ feeding habits, reproduction and genetic exchange, in 2013, the Secretary of the Environment of the Quito Municipal District established an ecological corridor. This measure also seeks to improve the quality of their habitat as a whole through the fauna and flora. The Andean bear is considered an umbrella species: its existence is a key indicator of a healthy forest.
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