World that give countries their rich biodiversity. This,

World traveler and photographer Frans
Lanting once said, “Biodiversity starts in the distant past and points toward
the future.” Lanting experienced much of the world, taking pictures of the most
beautiful parts of the earth. He knew how important biodiversity was, and what
it would mean for the future of the earth (Lanting). Much of the world is
suffering environmentally, losing plants and animals that give countries their
rich biodiversity. This, however, is not the case for Ecuador, a country that
has thrived on assorted varieties of flora and fauna alike. There are many
fascinating aspects that work together to create the acclaimed Ecuadorian
biodiversity. The research discussed in this essay includes research from the
Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, The Public Library of Science, The
Smithsonian Institution, The Biodiversity Group, Science Direct, The Galapagos
Conservation Organization, TED Speakers, Cornell University, The United Nations
Development Program, and the Yasuni National Park Organization. Ecuador’s
biodiversity is unique in the face of the world because of the Galapagos
Islands, providing financial stability to the country, Yasuni National Park,
and the bioecological tourism that biodiversity brings to Ecuador.

                The Galapagos Islands in Ecuador are extremely biodiverse.
The islands were accidentally discovered by the Bishop of Panama, Fray Tomas de
Berlanga, in 1535. Originally, when the Bishop discovered the islands, he
didn’t see any value in the land, writing that the islands were “dross,
worthless, because it has not the power of raising a little grass, but only
some thistles” (“A Brief History of the Galapagos”). However, the islands
provide flora and fauna that cause Ecuador to be the most biodiverse country
per square kilometer in the world (“Documenting Biodiversity in Ecuador”). The
Galapagos Islands are home to a variety of endemic plants and animals. In fact,
the majority of species of both plants and animals, including reptiles, land
animals, land birds, and marine species are endemic (“Galapagos”). The
Galapagos Islands are covered in healthy grass that provide a consistent
habitat for the biodiverse species in the Galapagos Islands. Many species are
unique to the Galapagos and cannot be found in other parts of the world. One
species that is unique to Ecuador via the Galapagos Islands is the Galapagos
Tortoise. The Galapagos Tortoise is the largest living species of tortoise and
weigh almost a ton. In addition, the Galapagos Tortoise can live up to 150
years, which makes it one of the longest living vertebrae animals in the world
(“Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia”). However, the Galapagos
Tortoises are not the only species unique to Ecuador, there are numerous
others. Much of Ecuador’s biodiversity is due to the rich amount of species in
the Galapagos Islands.

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Ecuador’s biodiversity is one of the
fundamental components to Ecuador’s financial success and stability. There are
many factors that rely on biodiversity such as the production of food, disease
prevention, and pollination. Innovation is the main reason why Ecuador is
successful, and they rely on their biodiversity to innovate successfully.
Ecuador relies on exports that are unique to Ecuador, and cannot be found in
other countries in the world. Some of these exports include bananas, papayas,
cacao beans, and coffee beans (“Biodiversity and Ecosystems Management”). Many
local businesses that display personally crafted items such as purses,
blankets, and scarfs, would be hurt if an international population were not
visiting Ecuador. Additionally, biodiverse soil and rich grasses assist the
financial state of Ecuador because of their capability to host a large variety
of plants that can be sold for profit (“The Biodiversity Finance Initiative”).
Finances in Ecuador have been improved because of Ecuadorian biodiversity
because of innovation and creative products sold.

Another unique factor that makes
Ecuador’s biodiversity so well-known is Yasuni National Park. Unlike the
Galapagos Islands, Yasuni National Park is located inside of inland Ecuador,
and it is not an island. In fact, Yasuni National Park is a part of the Amazon
Rainforest, a forest that spans several countries in South America. Yasuni
National Park features a wide variety of life, including plants, mammals, and
reptiles. One of the reasons that Yasuni National Park is so biodiverse is that
there is a healthy annual amount of rainfall. Additionally, Yasuni National
Park is at the base of the Andes Mountains and is a part of the Amazon
Rainforest, which spans several countries in South America. Yasuni National
Park has also been called an “ecological bulls-eye,” which is because of its
location along the Equator, as well as its location adjacent to the Andes (Matt
Blitz, 2015). In 1937, it was discovered that Yasuni boasted a large oil
reservoir, creating a potential threat to the variety of biodiversity that was
being studied at the same time as the oil reservoir discovery. The discovery
created a potential threat to the soil that had been fertile to the plants that
made the Yasuni National Park their home. Since the discovery, oil drilling has
taken place in Yasuni National Park, but the government has initiated
regulations to help protect the biodiversity that is so dear to Ecuador’s heart
(Matt Blitz, 2015). When talking about Yasuni National Park, Dr. David Romo,
co-director of Tiputini Biodiversity Station-Universidad San Francesco de
Quito, said, “People get stuck on awesome. It is hard to use too many words
other than awesome because, well, it is.” (Matt Blitz, David Romo, 2015).
Awesome is a bromidic word, awesome is the only way to describe Yasuni National
Park, and how its biodiversity is important to Ecuadorian culture.

                Lastly, tourism is greatly impacted by Ecuador’s natural
biodiversity. Before much of Ecuador’s biodiversity was discovered, Ecuador had
no real tourism industry. Tourism in Ecuador boomed when the Galapagos Islands
were discovered, and then it was discovered that there were also unique species
on inland Ecuador. Many hotels have opened solely for the purpose of nature
tours to view the nation’s famous flora and fauna. Additionally, touring
companies have benefited by having the ability to offer more bus tour options
to visitors who wish to experience the Ecuadorian biodiversity hype (“Galapagos
Discovery”). Cities that are not in the main cities of Quito or Cuenca rely on
tourism business, from the mountains to the valleys to the beaches. Less-known
cities are becoming more popular to international travelers who wish to see the
biodiversity that is hidden in the secluded parts of Ecuador (“Documenting
Biodiversity in Ecuador”). Tourism is the cultural aspect of Ecuador that is the
most greatly impacted by biodiversity.

                In conclusion, Ecuador’s biodiversity did start in the
distant past, and is the key to their distant future. Biodiversity is the key
to the past and the future in many ways. The biodiverse Ecuadorian Galapagos
Islands are keys to both the past and future by creating the enigma by which
Ecuador was made known for its biodiversity. This will continue into the future
because the Galapagos are the foundation of Ecuadorian biodiversity and are
some of the most densely biodiverse islands in the world. Ecuador’s financial
success and stability would not have been stabilized in the past, and would not
continue into the future if it were not for biodiversity. The biodiversity in
Ecuador created a fruitful outlet for food production, among other exports,
which is the main staple for Ecuador to survive. Yasuni National Park is
important to the Ecuadorian biodiverse culture because similarly to the
Galapagos Islands, it has high amounts of species of flora and fauna in
Ecuador, but unlike the Galapagos Islands, it is in the Ecuadorian mainland, so
it attracts a whole different crowd of tourists. Tourism in general to Ecuador
is highly based on a desire to see a biodiverse country. Tourists visit Ecuador
to see plants and animals that they would not be able to see in any other
country in the world. This tourism has promoted the non-environmental tourist
destinations in Ecuador, and therefore, make Ecuador prosper. Biodiversity
truly is a part of the past, present, and future, and biodiversity is what has
made Ecuador prosper in the past, prosper currently, and it is what will make
Ecuador prosper in the future.