Protecting Nature's Hotspots for people and prosperity


Tab 1


CEPF is no longer active in this region.

Reaching from the southeastern portion of Mesoamerica to the northwestern corner of South America, the Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena biodiversity hotspot encompasses 274,597 square kilometers along the western coastal flank of the Andes mountains.

Formerly called the Chocó-Darién-Western Ecuador Hotspot, this hotspot possesses a rich variety of habitats, including mangroves, beaches, rocky shorelines and coastal wilderness. It contains the world's wettest rain forests, as well as South America's only remaining coastal dry forests.

This combination of flat coastal plains interspersed with small mountain ranges, has fostered the development of unique species making this one of the most biologically diverse regions of the planet. For example, 25 percent or 2,750 of the plants found here are found nowhere else.

Today, however, only 24 percent or 63,000 square kilometers of the hotspot's original habitat remains in pristine condition.

Our support focuses on the Chocó-Manabí biodiversity conservation corridor, which spans more than 60,000 square kilometers in Colombia and Ecuador where most of the region’s intact forests are located in the Colombian Chocó and parts of Panama's Darién Province. The Chocó region is globally recognized as one of the world’s most important zones for the conservation of biological and cultural resources. 

Tab 2

Chocó vireo

Our investment strategy focuses on priority areas in the Chocó-Manabí biodiversity conservation corridor, such as the San Juan River Basin in Colombia and important remnants of mangroves and rain forests in the part of the corridor straddling Colombia and Ecuador.

The $5 million investment aims to enable environmental programs to work in synergy with one another, benefiting both the region’s rich biological resources and historically underserved communities. Guided by an ecosystem profile developed with stakeholders, our investment in this region began in January 2002.

Our approach underpins Vision 2010 agreed to in 2001 by Colombia and Ecuador government representatives, nongovernmental organizations and scientists. The 10-year strategy seeks to catalyze human and financial resources for an integrated effort to connect natural areas by consolidating and upgrading existing protected areas, rehabilitating degraded areas and promoting sustainable agriculture and other sources of livelihood to sustain biodiversity.

Three strategic directions guide our approach:

  1. Establish/strengthen local and regional mechanisms to foster corridor-level conservation.
  2. Bring selected protected areas and species under improved management.
  3. Identify and promote sustainable development practices in communities near selected protected areas.
  4. Consolidation: Reinforce and sustain the gains achieved as a result of the initial five-year investment in this important region.

Results to date include creating and strengthening public, private and community-managed protected areas. Innovative tools, such as payments for environmental services and incentive agreement schemes, were tried and tested, bringing to light new conservation approaches that consider market incentives. Management plans were created for numerous protected areas, such as Mache Chindul Ecological Reserve and the Cerro Golondrinas Protective Forest, and updated for others.

More than 70 percent of our investment has helped local groups implement initiatives directly targeting the maintenance and restoration of ecosystems upon which communities rely for livelihoods and as alternative income options.

Tab 3

1.  Establish/strengthen local and regional mechanisms to foster corridor-level conservation 1.1  Develop and operationalize existing and new frameworks and processes for information exchange, alliance building, and dialogue for coordination between stakeholders, governments, international donors, and NGOs
1.2  In a civil society led effort prepare a financing strategy for conservation in the corridor, to examine trust funds, endowments, conservation concessions, and ecotrusts
1.3  Support environmental monitoring and evaluation systems for development and conservation initiatives and for selected species
1.4  Through civil society efforts, incorporate corridor conservation priorities and plans into the Ecuadorian National Biodiversity Strategy, and into Ecuadorian local and regional development and decentralization plans; integrate coastal ecosystems into corridor priorities
1.5  Increase awareness of, and support for, biodiversity conservation in the corridor among key stakeholder groups*
1.6  Through targeted civil society initiatives, improve and consolidate legal framework for national systems of protected areas*
1.7  Launch and complete transfrontier territory planning processes, including agro-ecological zoning of critical areas, to promote land use that is compatible with corridor priorities*
1.8  Ensure that civil society efforts lead to the incorporation of biodiversity concerns into decision-making processes associated with major initiatives, such as Plan Colombia, Plan Pacifico, and Trans-Ecuadorian Pipeline*
2.  Bring selected protected areas and species under improved management 2.1  Through civil society efforts prepare and implement management plans for selected protected areas, including Mache Chindul Reserve, Angel Ecological Reserve, and Awa Forest Reserve
2.2  Consolidate selected protected areas - through targeted civil society efforts - including Tatamas, Utria, San Quianga, Farallones de Cali, Munchiques, Galeras, Callapas Matage, and Cotacachi Cayapas
2.3  Improve protection and management of habitat for critical species
2.4  Foster and support applied research on little known, threatened and endemic species and habitats*
2.5  Strengthen the institutional capacity of municipalities, communities, NGOs, and the private sector for protected areas management*
3.  Identify and promote sustainable development practices in communities near selected protected areas 3.1  Identify, demonstrate, and disseminate best practices in key sub-sectors: improved forest management, carbon sequestration projects, reforestation; agroforestry, NTFP, coffee, and cacao; sustainable shrimp farming; and ecotourism*
3.2  Identify, demonstrate, and disseminate traditional uses of natural resources*

* Investment priorities to be supported in conjunction with funding partners through funds leveraged by CEPF support.

Tab 4

Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena biodiversity Hotspot


Forest Cover and Change data on CI's Learning Network: Colombia c.1990-c.2000 (WinZip File - 91 MB)


Forest Cover and Change data on CI's Learning Network: Ecuador c.1990-c.2000 (winzip file - 24 MB)



Forest Cover and Change data on CI's Learning Network: Peru c.1990-c.2000 (winzip file - 41 MB)





Tab 5

Core Documents

Monitoring & Evaluation

  • Assessing Five Years of CEPF Investment in the Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena Biodiversity Hotspot, March 2007
    English (PDF - 822 KB) | Español (PDF - 837 KB)

  • CEPF and Poverty Reduction: A Review of the CEPF Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena Portfolio, December 2006
    English (PDF - 1.1 MB)

  • Portfolio Overview, as of January 2005
    English (PDF - 195 KB)
    - Full related briefing book
    English (PDF - 1 MB)

  • Project Final Reports
    Compiled by project leaders detailing final results and lessons learned
    View reports

  • Eco-Exchange Newsletter Archive, Rainforest Alliance 
    English | Español

  • Serraniagua Newsletter, Corporación Serraniagua
    -  No. 14, Agosto-Septiembre 2007
    Español (PDF - 1.2 MB) 
    -  No. 12, Julio de 2006
    Español (PDF - 1 MB)

Other Publications

  • Taller de Foresteria Analoga para la Biorregion Choco
    Español (PDF - 25 KB)

  • Biocorredores
    Español​ Web (PDF - 6.3 MB) / Print​ (PDF - 17.4 MB)

Tab 6


Fast Facts

Status: Closed

Initial investment:
  • $5 million
  • 2002-2007
  • 42 grants
  • $1.95 million
  • 2009-2013
  • 10 grants​

Regional Resources
See Also
Document:   Tumbes-Choco-Magdalena Biodiversity Hotspot Chocó-Manabi Conservation Corridor Program for Consolidation May 2009 
English (PDF - 48 KB)

Document: Assessing Five Years of CEPF Investment in the Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena Biodiversity Hotspot, March 2007
English (PDF - 822 KB)
Spanish (PDF - 837 KB)

​Document:  Logical Framework for Consolidation
English (PDF - 15 KB)

Document: GEF Focal Point Endorsements
English & Spanish​ (PDF - 847 KB)