Ted, try S01 23.854' W78 03.556' - that's the end of the uproad that accesses the forest - there's another 2 hours on foot after that and sattelite reception is dodgy under the canopy - from those points, the forest is roughly 6 km north by northwest. The Google Earth resolution in that sector is pretty crappy, though - gotta warn you. I think they just did one basic pass to get topography and that was that.
The area is really in no danger of being encroached by the town of Mera - the larger threat is really from illegal poaching of the timber trees not for charcoal, but for export timber.
The land has quite large stands of Cedron - tropical red cedar - which is known in the timber industry as Red Gold; we've also got Ahuano (black mahogany), the three types of Canelo mahogany, black laurel, caoba, guabo, and ishpingo, all of which are very valuable in the hardwood trade. Mostly my job involves making sure that the most accessible of these trees stays in the ground - my forest is primary, not secondary or tertiary, and some of the trees are more than 500 years old. I am not averse to blowing stun-darts into the hides of tree poachers and dragging them off the land; I usually leave a little note pinned to them saying "You were lucky this time. Continue to poach trees and I'll feed you to the pumas." - which is pretty good deterrent. I only have to do it once every couple of months, and always to different poachers - they don't seem to repeat. Most Ecuadoreans are terrified of the big cats.
And of course I eat Cuy! They're delicious, with those little new potatoes and ullcus in peanut gravy.... mmmM! I know what I'm having for lunch now, even if I have to go across town to the best cuy roaster to get it.
And yes, OL, I try to avoid the more dangerous animals while doing the whole forest patrol thing. One one occasion only I've interrupted a Spectacled Bear who was munching out in a bamboo patch upslope - it was very much a lesson in the power of nature. Spectacled Bears aren't as dangerous as many other bears (although I considered them to be for a long time - comes of growing up in Grizzly territory) - what it came down to was that I froze, the bear gave me a good sniff, and went on its way. I've met pumas in the forest too (much more dangerous), but I find that if you can adopt an overall feeling of intense, fearless curiousity, big cats will assume you're on their level and leave you alone - I learned this the really hard way at a friend's place deeper in the jungle, when I met a jaguar face to face. After the initial first-time shock of "omigod, that's a really big cat and it could easily eat me for lunch" it gets easier to become curious. Obviously, I don't have pictures of these encounters - the fastest way to be perceived as prey is to act like a "normal" human.
The amount of forest that I protect is about 25 acres, which in the grand scheme of the surrounding forest is really not that much at all. I'm working on an application to the Ministry of the environment to add about 750 acres more and bring our preserve right up to the borders of the Llanganates National Park - we'll see how that goes, because the Ministry may choose to simply give us all of the unused and unclaimed forest in the top corner of the province, which would be much better in terms of what we're trying to do with the Mountain Tapir and Spectacled Bear preservation projects.
Malaria is present in Ecuador, but primarily much further downriver, and Ecuador is also the home of Quinine trees so it doesn't really kill all that many people; bugnets are mandatory for sleeping, though. The forest I tend contains the mountain spring, the Quebrada Alpayacu (the name is Kichua, and means "First Waters"), that is the true source of the Amazon, but it's a pleasant babbling stream where I am, not a mighty juggernaut of a river like at the point where the Rio Alpayacu becomes the Rio Napo, about 3 days walk downstream.
The most common thing I see in the forests are probably butterflies and other insects - there are absolutely fantastic beetles here; we do indeed have poison dart frogs (like the Ruby Poison Dart Frog in the photo below) although you hear them much more often than you see them.
Alligators, we don't get. Caiman, we do, but further downriver in Napo and Orellana provinces, and deep on the Bobonaza and Pastaza in Pastaza province. Anaconda, further downriver still, closer to the Peru border and on the lower Rio Bobonaza. As for Piranha, those are good eatin'!
They mostly occur well out of my forest system and into the true Amazon. Lago Limoncocha, a lime-green Amazon lake two provinces away from me, is famous for its black piranhas.
More rarely, I see various kinds of monkey and tamarin, the smallest probably being the Golden Lion Tamarin (which are notoriously camera-shy), and the largest being wooly monkeys, of which the pictured is a baby - they're very trusting, and also very clumsy when they're young.
The smallest monkey in the largest groups award goes to Squirrel Monkeys, which run in troops of 50-300. These are the destroyers of gardens and robbers of banana trees. They're probably the most commonly seen primate in our forests, and you know they're up there because they throw down bromeliad hearts with the tasty part chewed out.
There are also Howler Monkeys (heard and not seen) and Spider Monkeys (which may choose to bomb you with half-eaten fruit, although you won't see them in the open very often).
Things that you only rarely see are the larger animals - Tapir, the bears, Puma, Ocelot, Jaguarundi, and Jaguar. There are also tropical tree-porcupines, and larger rodents like Agouti and Guanta, and also the wild pigs, Javelina and Peccary.
In birds, there are everything from sparrows right through to blue and scarlet Macaws, called Papagallo here (father chicken), and in Morete swamps (which I don't have - I'm too high up) there are also Military and Hyacinth Macaws. The blue Macaw in this photo is a resident of Tena, a jungle city about 2 hours from Puyo by bus.
I've been divebombed by Trogons and Quetzals, there are noisy flocks of parrotlets and parrots, more tanagers and other songbirds than you can shake a stick at, the massive black vultures, and when you're lucky and close to water, Hoatzin, which are massive prehistoric-looking stinky "turkeys".
Although I fuss about them, I rarely see any of the resident snakes - I have on several occasions trodden on Corals hiding in the leaf mulch, which are the calmest poisonous snakes I've ever met, and which can be safely moved off the path using a stick to pull them up and toss them. I've encountered Ekis (Fer-de-lance) on three separate occasions, all of which ended with me eating them for dinner. Once upset (and they upset rather easily), an Ekis will follow you and strike you when you least expect it to, and there is no good antivenin so the safest thing to do is behead one when you see it.
Dixana, Ecuador is cheaper than almost any other holiday destination, and you can get here for around $1000 return, sometimes even less (if you flee the northern winter, you'll get here in low season, and everything will be cheaper) - I think Continental had the cheapest airfare last time I looked, but Delta, American, Avianca, LAN (not reccomended), AeroGal (excellent), and TAME all fly here. Once you're here, you'll be hard-pressed to spend $1000 in a month as long as you're willing to forgo the Galapagos islands - they're the most expensive thing to do in the country. I'm a very reasonably-priced tour guide. We're on the US Dollar, so you don't even have to worry about exchange rates.