Colombia is one of the 12 megadiverse countries of the planet. With an area four times the size of Britain, it contains 30,000 known plant species and perhaps another 10,000 remain to be described. Over 1.600 species of vascular plants have been recorded in the different cloud forests of the country, but many more remain to be added to this list.


Cloud forests count with important species including wax palms (Ceroxylon spp.), native pines (Podocarpus & Prumnopitys) and Andean oak (Quercus humboldtii). Additionally, they play a crucial role as reservoirs of genetic diversity of commercial species like papaya (Carica papaya),  passion fruit (Passiflora sp.), avocado (Persea americana), beans (Phaseolus spa.), cucumber (Solanum muricatum), potato (Solanum spa.) & ají-pepper (Capsicum spa.). However, only 27% of the once widespread lower and upper montane forests are standing today. In view of the rapid changes occurring in these habitats, mainly due to increasing human population and conversion to pastures or cultivated fields, there is an urgent need to document their biodiversity.

• Together with Prof. Antoine M. Cleef, we worked with colleagues in the Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas and Fundación Natura to study the floristic composition of the Andean vegetation in the Encenillo Biological Reserve (EBR). Addtionally we set up an orchidarium. Currently we are working to publish the vegetation study as well as a guide to the flora of the EBR.

• Link to pictures of Encenillo: