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HomeBotanyExploring the Carribean flanks of the La Amistad Nationwide Park, Costa Rica

Exploring the Carribean flanks of the La Amistad Nationwide Park, Costa Rica

At 2700 m above sea-level on the northern slopes of an un-named mountain. This elfin forest could be very humid and any obtainable area is quickly colonised by liverworts and mosses

Costa Rican botanist Daniel Santamaría, information Elio Altamirano, some very valiant porters and myself have simply accomplished our newest exploration of the La Amistad binational park, the majority of the Talamanca mountain vary in Costa Rica and Panama. We made 529 collections of virtually 300 species, a number of of that are new to science. Provided that we collected between 2 and seven duplicates of every assortment that’s over 2,000 sheets that we might want to dry, label, establish and distribute.  After virtually three weeks mountaineering and tenting in moist, muddy and chilly situations we had all misplaced a variety of weight, I misplaced 8 kg, and had been exhausted. The justification for this journey is that along with the Darien in Panama, La Amistad stays one of many greatest tracts of largely unexplored forest in Central America. It’s also residence to a number of the most stunning forests within the World and dozens of undiscovered plant species stay.Regardless of being a world heritage web site in recognition of its excellent species-richness La Amistad has been largely deserted by the Costa Rican and Panamanian authorities, and UNESCO’s World Heritage Fee. This has left it weak to hydroelectric dams and mining.  We due to this fact hope that our collections and discoveries will assist increase the Park’s profile inside the scientific group and respective nationwide authorities.

Oak forest at 2300 m above sea-level. The oak timber within the background attain 60 m in top, there may be additionally a 40 m excessive Magnolia. The grass within the foreground (left) is Nuerolepis pittieri, a large grass not often collected in Costa Rica.

We had been planning this expedition for over two years with the Universidad Estatal a Distancia of Costa Rica (UNED), and had been fortunate sufficient to get monetary assist from UNED, the Bentham Moxon Belief and the Royal Horticultural Society. The principle challenges had been attending to our chosen locality provided that maps of the realm are primarily based on aerial photographs and so of restricted worth for finding ridges and streams. Second we needed to set up provide strains in order that we may get meals to our camps and our specimens out for drying. This meant that our valiant porters spent a number of hours a day mountaineering steep muddy paths or slicing trails by way of dense vegetation beneath the steerage of our information Elio Altamirano. Very steep slopes, excessive rainfall and frequent tree-falls made our trails impediment programs fairly than paths, requiring a level of acrobatics when hauling a closely packed rucksack and long-arm pruners.

Certainly one of our many camps. This one at 2800 m above sea-level. We slept within the open however the floor was so moist and waterlogged {that a} plastic sheet was important. Our information, Elio Altamirano was very expert at designing and erecting camps.

This mixed with our restricted finances meant that while we had been in a position to stock two unexplored valleys and an un-named mountain vary, over an elevation vary of two,200 to 2,800 m. We weren’t, nevertheless, in a position to get to our goal locality which might have required many extra porters than we may afford or supply. This is among the dangers of doing fieldwork in very distant areas on a comparatively small finances and I’d not think about this journey to have been a failure, not solely did we make over 500 collections, virtually actually together with some new to science, however we additionally undertook inventories in an hitherto unexplored space and documented some new data of threatened habitats for Costa Rica.

Daniel Santamaría standing by the Terbe river in Costa Rica.



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