Ecuador's government hopes to raise about $240 million this year for the Yasuni-ITT environmental project, which would place large oil reserves in a section of the Amazon off limits to development, acting President Lenin Moreno said.

"It is the government's decision to leave this petroleum under the earth to prevent pollution and the extermination of life," Moreno said during the weekly update on the administration's activities.

The message delivered by Moreno was recorded on Friday in Añangu, a town in the heart of Ecuador's Amazon region.

The Yasuni-ITT environmental project has received some $330 million so far, Moreno said.

Ecuador is asking the international community to provide about $3.6 billion over 12 years, or about 50 percent of what the country would earn from the oil fields in Yasuni National Park, Moreno said.

The oil field in the national park is estimated to hold more than 800 million barrels of crude.

Under the Yasuni-ITT environmental project, Ecuador will leave the oil underground indefinitely in exchange for financial compensation.

The Yasuni-ITT Trust Fund, which receives the donations, is being administered by the United Nations Development Program's Multi-Donor Trust Fund Office.

By keeping the crude from the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini field, located in Yasuni National Park, one of the world's most bio-diverse areas, in the ground, Ecuador will avoid emitting some 407 million metric tons of carbon dioxide that would result from burning fossil fuels.

Yasuni National Park, declared a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 1989, is also home to Indians who live in voluntary isolation in that area of eastern Ecuador. EFE