The west coast forest of Ecuador formerly had 8,000 to 10,000 plant species (40-60% of which were endemic). Assuming roughly ten to thirty animal species per plant species (because of the insects!) then there must have been approximately 200,000 animal species or more in this area at one time. But since 1960, more than 95% of the region has been deforested for banana plantations, oil exploration and settlements. Perhaps half of the species have been lost in only 25 years. South America: Not long ago the west coast of Ecuador had 8000 to 10,000 known plant species, of which 40-60% were endemic. It is estimated that there were perhaps 10 to 30 times as many animal species (mainly insects) as plants, so there were approximately 200,000 species in this area. But 95% of this forest has been destroyed for banana plantations, oil exploration and human habitation in the past 25 years, with the concomitant loss of innumerable species (Myers, 1988b).

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