Study area description
The Almorzadero paramo complex is located in the provinces of Santander and Norte de Santander in the Eastern cordillera of Colombia. It is the highest massif north of the National Natural Park "El Cocuy".
This complex is very important for the provinces of Santander and Norte de Santander because it is one of the main water sources for the inhabitants of the region. In the area coal mining is one of the main impacts as well as cattle grazing.
At the time of the study, the botanical exploration of the paramos was far from complete and little was known about the modern vegetation of the paramos. The biogeography of the area was very interesting because it was the northest massif of the eastern cordillera, a superparamo located on calcareous rock but quiet different to "El Cocuy" that is located close to "El Almorzadero". Also a complete inventory of the paramo flora from a phytosociological perspective was needed. This was the first study carried out in "El Almorzadero", particularly in the southern calcareous part including the summit (4375m.a.s.l., which mainly consists of rocks belonging to the Low Cretaceus Rosa Blanca formation.
The method used for paramo vegetation sampling was based on the Braun-Blanquet or Zürich-Montpellier schools which take the relevé as the main sampling unit. The Braun-Blanquet method is based on dominant species that are grouped in associations and then at a higher level in alliances. This is the standard methodology used in Europe, South Africa, United States, Japan and in the world in general. One of the final goals of the methodology mainly in Europe is to get to nature conservation, which is also the goal in the Colombian paramos.
Institute of Systematic Botany at Utrecht University.
Hugo de Vries Laboratoty at Institude for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics - IBED
The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research-NWO, with the Netherlands Foundation for the Advancement of Tropical Research-WOTRO