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AGUIRRE MENDOZA, Zhofre; AGUIRRE MENDOZA, Nikolay  and  MUNOZ CH, Johana. Biodiversity of the province of Loja, Ecuador. Arnaldoa [online]. 2017, vol.24, n.2, pp.523-542. ISSN 1815-8242.

Biodiversity or biological diversity is the variety of life on Earth, it includes three levels of biological organization: ecosystems, species and genes, and one ethnocultural level; it means life that develops in a specific space. In this context, the province of Loja is one of the most diverse areas of Ecuador, due to its location in an area of convergence between the Coast and the Amazon, low Andes of steep slopes and the presence of the Huancabamba depression, which have generated special habitats that provoke the presence of a very particular life. Researchers catalog the province of Loja as an area with an extraordinary diversity of ecosystems (22 ecosystems), of taxonomic groups: 3039 species of plants, 93 mammals, 382 birds, 51 amphibians and 42 reptiles, and of wild genetic diversity stored in the forests and in its agrobiodiversity; one of the highest concentrations of varieties of Phaseolus vulgaris, Caricaceae and Annonaceae occurs here; arguments that sustain that this area is very different from the rest of the country. In addition, the particularity and uniqueness of the biodiversity components, together with the cosmovision of its population, have forged a very unique ethnic and cultural diversity that differentiates it from the rest of Ecuador.

Keywords : ecosystems; species; conservation; southern region of Ecuador.

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