The origin of the Limoncocha lagoon responds to a relatively frequent phenomenon in the Amazon basin. Many rivers, especially those of medium size and good flow, overflow during the rainy season and flood the banks and adjacent areas. When the rains subside, the water recedes until the next rainy season. It is possible that what happened in this area was that the Napo River flooded flat lands; when it receded, the water accumulated in what is now the lagoon; this is possibly the origin of the lagoon.
The lagoon remains wet during the dry season, unlike other Amazonian lagoons. The reserve mainly protects the Limoncocha lagoon, a smaller lagoon called Yanacocha, and the surrounding wetlands, swamps and rainforests. Yanacocha, and the surrounding wetlands, marshlands, and rainforests.
Limoncocha, especially its banks and swampy areas, are home to a very unique flora and fauna, adapted to live in the permanent water-forest interaction and has an average temperature of 24.9º Celsius.average temperature of 24.9º Celsius. Here we find a great diversity of species, especially waterfowl, which led to its declaration as a Ramsar site. This led to its declaration as a Ramsar site, an international recognition for wetlands of great importance.
Studies conducted in the reserve indicate the presence of three ecosystems: aquatic, found on the banks of rivers and lagoons; flooded, found in the wetlands of the lagoons; and, in the most remote areas, the mainland rainforest. Inventories reveal the remarkable existence of 144 bird species, 55 mammal species, 39 reptile species, 53 amphibian species and 93 fish species.
In the swampy areas to the south of the reserve grows the morete palm or moriche, a characteristic species of the reserve, or moriche, a species characteristic of these environments and found throughout the Amazon basin. During the palm fruiting season, which occurs during the flood or winter months, a large number of parrots, macaws and monkeys stay in these areas to take advantage of the abundance of food. Birds are the most representative and easy to observe group. Several species of herons stand out, as well as the unique hoatzin or stinking guan, a brightly colored species found on the banks where its favorite food grows: a plant known as “manzanilla”, a plant known as “chirimoya de agua” (water custard apple). Submerged in the water live black caimans, spectacled caimans and fish such as the river croaker, bocachico and tucunari.
Away from the lagoons, in the lands that are not flooded, grow large trees such as ceibos and cedars. There are also palm trees such as tagua, chambira and pambil, used by the Kichwa Indians as food and to build their houses. The Kichwa Indians live around the reserve, especially on the banks of the Napo River (where the soils are fertile and suitable for agriculture). The soils are fertile and suitable for agriculture). At present, the Kichwa people populate all of the the banks of the Napo River up to the Peruvian border, but in the past they lived mainly in the Upper Napo, which is the area of Archidona and Tena. During the colonial period, for various reasons, circumstances, they migrated and settled downstream. The names of the reserve’s two lagoons are in the Amazonian Kichwa language and refer to the color of the water. Limoncocha means “green waters” and Yanacocha means “black waters”. black water. In the buffer zone there are lodging facilities in cabins in the community of Limoncocha.