Colombia, 2017

Between January and April 2017, RAINFOR colleagues have been working across Colombia to recensus long-term monitoring plots, including many established in the previous century. This work was led by Esteban Alvarez (Col-Tree and UNAD – Universidad Nacional Abierta y a Distancia), Zorayda Restrepo (Col-Tree, Fundación Con Vida), and Oliver Phillips (University of Leeds), with support from a Royal Society Global Challenge grant to help assess the impacts of the 2015-16 El Niño on Colombian forest carbon and biodiversity.

Together with students and technicians from the Pacific Botanical Garden, the University Technological of Chocó, University of Caldas, and partners in local indigenous and AfroColombian communities we visited a total of 17 plots. Among the highlights have been an intensive campaign in the Chocó, on the Pacific Coast. We measured a total of six hectares at Amargal, including areas inventoried a quarter century ago by the late Gloria Galeano who was a leading expert in neotropical palms. In the Chocó we also visited a further ten hectares of epiphyte-laden wet forest in the reserve owned by the Pacific Botanical Garden. The team also visited plots in the Caribbean region (dry forest), Magdalena valley (moist-dry transition), Choco Darien (moist forest), and Amazonia. The team also included Wilmar Lopez (botanist), Luisa Fernanda Duque (forest technician), Edwin Paky (agro-forest engineer), Jose Manuel Castro (agro-forest engineer), Sandra Milena Espinosa (forest engineer) and Felipe (U de Caldas) and skilled local taxonomists and assistants including Margarito Salas, Antonio Cunanpia (Chocó), Antoni Palomino Paky Matapi, Esteban Moreno Andoque, Bladimir Moreno Paky, Euclides Paky Barbosa, Fabián Moreno Gomez, (Amazonia), Carlos Enrique Higuita, Steven Gonzalez Olguin, Juan Felipe Rendon Cano, Dairo Casas Herrera (Darien) and Lino Olivares Elles, Víctor Manuel Olivares Cantillo, Melanio Díaz Suarez,  (Caribbean).

Equipo JBP 2017, Colombia (foto: Zorayda Restrepo)