EcoMinga Foundation



New, as-yet-unnamed orchid species.

Below, the advancing agricultural frontier.

   Ecuador is home to more than 4000 unique plant species found nowhere else in the world; many of these are threatened by the rapid deforestation taking place. The habitat degradation that follows deforestation here threatens not only the plants and wildlife but the well-being of the human population, causing an exodus to urban areas and an accompanying loss of dignity. In July 2005 a group of concerned scientists and conservationists has started a foundation to do something to save these plants and the other threatened organisms of Ecuador's forests, and at the same time ensure that the local people find a dignified and sustainable livelihood.. We are Calaway Dodson, curator emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden and renowned expert on Ecuadorian orchids, recently decorated by the President of Ecuador for his half-century of investigation here; Nigel Simpson, a founder of the Jocotoco Foundation and enthusiastic conservationist, decorated this year by the Queen of England for his conservation work; Homero Vargas, former director of the National Herbarium of Ecuador; Lori and Juan Miguel Espinoza, educators in Ecuador; Johanna Mew, cofounder of a successful conservation foundation in NW Ecuador; Ray Swanson, graphics artist and environmentalist; Francesca Rota, well-known Ecuadorian artist; Ron Kaufmann, biologist and orchid conservationist; Howard Teich, New Yorker active in progressive causes; Simon Espinosa Cordero, universally respected member of the Comisión
Anti-corrupción del Municipio de Quito; Jimena de Salvador, biology educator in Ecuador, Juan Manuel Carrion, well-known Ecuadorian ornithologist, conservationist and television personality, and myself. The botanists on this board have personally discovered or scientifically described many of Ecuador's endemic plants, and all members of the board have an emotional tie to the people and the beautiful forests we have studied or visited here. We intend to work hard to save them while we still can.

Lepanthes lophius, endemic to a small area in eastern Ecuador

     EcoMinga is efficiently preserving biodiversity by helping local people establish community reserves, and when necessary directly purchasing and protecting strategic previously-unprotected centers of endemism in Ecuador. We also work with local communities and international tourists to raise awareness about the value of Ecuador's biodiversity. We enlist the help of any and all interested parties

We now have two reserves and a third is one the way. Please see the EcoMinga website for more information and for our US and UK partner foundations who can accept tax-deductible donations for us. Also see the article about us in Plant Talk magazine.


EcoMinga's website is


Ecominga Foundation