Location

Mindo Lindo is a private conservation area in Ecuador and is located in the province of Pichincha, about 90 kilometers northwest of the Ecuadorian capital Quito. The altitude is 1700 m above sea level on the western slope of the Andes. The natural ecosystem is tropical cloud forest, one of the most species rich but also most threatened land ecosystems on earth.

Climate

The climate of Mindo Lindo is tropical. The mean temperature round the year is 19°C, daily temperatures can vary between 16°C and 26°C. Typical for the tropics is the high rainfall of about 2.500 mm per year. Foggy mornings are quite common. Seasonality is low but 4 seasons can be described for the northwest of Ecuador, mainly differing in the amount of rain. There is a longer rainy period from February until May and a shorter one between October and November. Typically, the first half day is still sunny but heavy rains begin around noon. The drier season lasts from June until September and between December and January. During these drier period weeks without any rainfall at all can occur.

Cloud Forest Ecosystem

The cloud forest ecosystem is characterized by evergreen rain forest in mountains of the tropics and subtropics. The climate is typically cool and wet. The cloud forest is often covered with clouds or in fog which leads to condensation of moisture on the vegetation additionally to the rainfall. Typical parts of the forest vegetation are epiphytes growing on the trees. Tree ferns are also abundant. Many leaves have dripping tips. Trees do not grow as high as in lowland rain forests and often have smaller leaves. A high diversity of animals and plants living in the crowns of trees makes cloud forests to be one of the most biodiversity rich terrestrial ecosystems. Only tropical coral reefs are even more diverse.

Cloud forest (Photo: Pedro Peñafiel)