Puyanop Petrified Forest, Protected Areas, Tourist Attractions
The Puyango Petrified Forest, or the El Bosque Petrificado de Puyango, is a very unusual reserve. It is home to the largest known area of exposed petrified wood, of which a lot comes from the Araucarias family - a tree that is not often fossilized. Forests like this are not easy to come by, as trees that are dying will normally just decompose. However, here we have an excellent example of fossilized trees and marine fossils due to the dry nature of the ecosystem. The marine fossils that you will find in the forest occur because of the area having once been completely under water. The area is estimated to be about 500 million years old.
The remote Puyango Forests can be found about four hours south of Loja city near the Peruvian Border in Ecuador. The forest is about 2569 hectares (6570 acres) altogether and, if you are interested in hiking, there are many trails for you to hike with guides available if these are required. With this in mind it would be best for you to visit the forest during the dry season, which is between June and November. If you would like to see some greenery then head to the rivers that run through the park, here it stays green throughout the year.
At the protected Petrified Forest you will come across huge tree trunks that are about 65 to 80 million years old that have become fossilized rock. It is interesting to realize that these trees have actually changed into to stone after millions of years of having been around. Scientists are very interested in the Puyango Forests, since it holds vital information that is normally not easily accessible.
Apart from the intriguing tree fossils you can also see a wonderful array of wildlife. There are more than 130 different types of bird species to be found here throughout the year, with equally beautiful butterfly species. There are also spiders, termite hills and dragonflies that make the petrified forest their home. Some of the living trees that are found here are the Kapok and Ceiba trees. Reserves like this are not only important because of what they contain, but the preservation of these areas ensures the longevity of the birds found here. This is important because many of the birds here are rare in other parts of the country. The reserve also protects the dry tropical forest found here.