In those South American countries where forest plantations are important or have potential for development, investment in them is one option for creating jobs.

Biological corridors have conventionally been seen as a means of countering habitat fragmentation and facilitating species movements between protected areas. The NGO, Corporaci

Ecuador, a member of OPEC, is willing to preserve a tropical forest with reserves of 900 million barrels of oil if rich countries pay it about $360 million a year to keep the petroleum in the ground.

Galapagos finches could be among the first casualties of mosquitoes that stow away on aircraft, potentially bringing fatal viruses to the islands.

Across the globe an emerging El Nino weather pattern threatens to cause droughts and floods and trigger a spike in planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from burning forests.

El Nino is a warming of tropical Pacific waters that affects wind circulation patterns. Its effects on the global climate vary from one event to the next.

In Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru, initiatives have been taken recently that raise hopes that mechanisms might be created to stop the further privatisation of knowledge and life. So far, progress has been disappointing, with fundamental problems remaining unsolved. Once again, it is up to local people to defend knowledge and biodiveristy against destruction and privatisation.

Ecuador has based its economy on the extraction of natural resources. This process has arbitrarily used, abused and polluted the environment, and established an economic model characterised by external dependence, growth in internal and external debt, and the destruction of ecosystems. The

The Amazon River accounts for one-fifth of the world's freshwater flow, and its floodplain is home to 60% of the world's remaining tropical rainforests. The basin's diverse ecosystems support an unparalleled array of biodiversity, and provide home to tens of thousands of indigenous people.

Marginalized urban communities living in informal settlements or on fragile hillsides and slopes in Quito, Ecuador, are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, as they are highly exposed to frequent floods and landslides, droughts, food scarcity and uncertain food supply chains.

Whale sharks are a declining species for which little biological data is available. While these animals are protected in many parts of their range, they are fished legally and illegally in some countries. Baseline biological and ecological data are needed to allow the formulation of an effective conservation plan for whale sharks. It is not known, for example, whether the whale shark is represented by a single worldwide panmictic population or by numerous, reproductively isolated populations.