“Chicaque a Cloud Forest”

ChicaqueI always enjoy visiting natural places and shooting the beauty of tropical forests such as, The National Natural Park Chicaque in Colombia. I consider ecotourism a unique way to interact with nature making our life healthier and renewing our soul. This also helps us to improve our understanding of the natural world, strongly affected by our unjustified actions.

In my short trips to Chicaque during years 2009 and 2010 I’’ve been improving my understanding of these interesting ecosystems there are actually many beautiful places like this one, called in general “Cloud Forests” around the world; unfortunately they’’ve been changing slowly in many negative ways. Most of the changes are produced by human actions, and so Cloud forests face many threats as other sort of tropical forests do, but their unique ecology and their location on mountain slopes make them particularly susceptible to some deforestation forces and especially to climate change. The most common threats are: Conversion to agricultural land, conversion to grazing lands, hunting, fire, timber harvesting, mining, deforestation and introduction of alien species among others.

There is one main function of Cloud Forests; this is the capacity of plants to capture water from the clouds and from direct rainfall. This amazing ability to retain water from the clouds makes these ecosystems vulnerable to climate change; and eventually, changes in the vegetation would affect animals and therefore our life as a species. Chicaque is a good example of the fact that some actions can be taken by us. Taking the idea of an action of protection and interaction, through creation of natural reserves, can be considered and applied by communities and so on by governments around the world. Chicaque means ‘vital water source’ because of its vegetation properties; therefore, the major element is the abundant of epiphytic plants, that is plants such a Moses, ferns and bromeliads that grow on the trunk and branches of trees. The epiphytes capture water directly from the fogs and clouds and support a variety of small animals.