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8.1 State of NWFP statistics

Ecuador took part in the FAO Workshop on NWFP in Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Santiago, Chile in 1994 (FAO 1995b). A co-authored country report by Consuelo Rojas and Eduardo Mansur was presented at the workshop. The report discussed a number of NWFP in the three major regions of Ecuador, although in several instances products were discussed only in terms of their characteristics and potential, without including any statistical data on production or value. A total of 14 product classes are included in the accompanying table.


8.2 Non-wood goods and services

Ecuador’s diverse environments supply a variety of NWFP. Those products for which data are available are as follows:

Ecuador has a wide range of environments and very scenic landscapes making it a popular nature tourist destination. A dozen protected areas exist in the country, which together cover an area of nearly 2 million ha; five are national parks (IUCN 1982). The most popular site is the Galapagos Archipelago; 60 000 to 125 000 people visit the islands annually with direct revenue reaching US$700 000 each year (Broekhoven 1996).


8.3 Non-wood goods

In 1990, the value of Ecuador’s export of NWFP totalled US$12,9 million. Of the total, articles of toquilla and mocora palm fiber accounted for US$7,9 million and tagua nuts and products for US$4 million (Broekhoven 1996). NWFP for which no data are available include ornamental plants, fodder, bamboo, resin, tannin, essential oils, medicinal plants, spices and dyestuffs.

Given Ecuador’s 64 000 ha of tree plantations, all industrial, it is safe to assume that there is some production of resin, essential oil and so on from these plantations, although data could not be found on these products.


8.3.1 Fiber

Ecuador recorded 3 571 t of cabuya fiber production in 1989. The other major fiber is toquilla used to weave the famous "Panama" hats; exports of hats in 1992 were valued at US$4,6 million. At least three palm fibers are known to be commercialized: chambira, Astrocaryum chambira, (Holm Jensen and Balslev 1995); piassaba, Aphandra natalia, (Borgtoft Pedersen 1996); and mocora, Astrocaryum standleyanum. Some production of the latter is aggregated with toquilla.

8.3.2 Latex and gums

Natural rubber production, presumed to be from wild trees, amounted to 2 000 t of rubber in 1997. A small quantity (1,1 t) of chicle gum was produced in 1990; the product has declined sharply in importance in the 1970s and 1980s.

8.3.3 Nuts

Tagua (vegetable ivory) has become a leading NWFP in the 1990s; production of 327,3 to of tagua palm nuts, valued at US$2,4 million were recorded in 1992. Conservation International’s Tagua Initiative has been the driving force behind the rise of this NWFP.

8.3.4 Edible oils

An undetermined area of oil palm plantations has been established in Ecuador. Production in 1997 amounted to 31 000 t of palm kernels and 188 000 t of palm oil

8.3.5 Palm hearts

Palm hearts represent one of the leading NWFP in terms of production and exports. In 1990, 603,4 t of the canned product was exported, valued at US$932 800.

8.3.6 Mushrooms

Mushrooms are grown in pine plantations, but the quantities are small (10 t in 1993) and consumed domestically.

Other NWF plant products

Coconut production in 1997 amounted to 42 000 t. The same year 94 000 t of cocoa beans were produced.

8.3.7 Honey

Honey production is recorded to have been 1 000 t in 1997.


8.3.8 Ornamental fish and other live animals

Living ornamental fish exports by Ecuador in 1990 amounted to 29,4 t (Broekhoven 1996). It is assumed that the figure represents the weight of shipments including the fresh water in which the fish are being transported alive. Wild animals for biomedical research, pets and as sources of skins and meat are important in Ecuador, as indicated below. In 1990, the value of "living animals, not for food" exported by Ecuador stood at US$76 000, an amount that appears to be understated.



Saguinus spp. (1)

Ara spp. (4)

Aotus spp. (1)

Aratinga spp. (4)

Saimiri spp. (1)

Brotogeris spp. (4)

Cebus spp. (1,2)

Pionites spp. (4)

Alouatta spp. (1)

Amazona spp. (4)

Lagothrix lagotricha (4)

Emberizinae (4)

Lutra longicaudis (3)


Pteronura brasiliensis (3)


Leopardus paradalis (3)


Panthera onca (3)

Podocnemis expansa (2)

Trichechus inunguis (2)

Podocnemis unifilis (2)

Tapirus terrestris (2)

Geochelone denticulata (2)

Tayassu pecari (2,3)

Caiman crocodilus (3)

Tayassu tajacu (2,3)

Melanosuchus niger (3)

Mazama americana (2,3)

Boa constrictor (3)

Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris (3)

Eunectes murinus (3)

Agouti paca (2)


1. Live animals for biomedical research
2. Meat
3. Skin
4. Live animals, pets, etc.

Source: TCA, 1995.


8.4 References

Borgtoft Pedersen, H. 1996. Production and harvest of fibers from Aphandra natalia (Palmae) in Ecuador. Forest Ecology and Management 80:155-161.

Broekhoven, G. 1996. Non-timber forest products. IUCN, Gland.

FAO. 1995a. Forest resources assessment 1990. Tropical forest plantation resources. Forestry Paper 128. FAO, Rome.

FAO. 1995b. Memoria: consulta de expertos sobre productos forestales no madereros para America Latin y el Caribe. Forestry Series No. 1, Santiago.

FAO. 1997. Latin American and Caribbean Forestry Commission. State of forestry in the region - 1996. Forestry Series No. 8. FAO, Santiago.

FAO. 1998. FAO production yearbook. Vol. 51 – 1997. FAO, Rome.

Holm Jensen, O., H. Balslev. 1995. Ethnobotany of the fiber palm Astrocaryum chambira (Arecaceae) in Amazoniam Ecuador. Economic Botany 49(3):309-319.

IUCN. 1982. IUCN Directory of Neotropical Protected Areas. Tycooly Publishing, Dublin.

TCA. 1995. Uso y conservación de la fauna silvestre en la Amazonia. Tradato de Cooperación Amazónica, Secretaria Pro-Tempore, Lima.

8.5 Resource Persons

Francis Kahn, ORSTOM, Apartado 17.11.6596, Quito, Ecuador. Tel: 5932 565 336; Fax 5932 504 020; E-mail:


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