Thanks to support received through the Newton Fund, British Council and Colciencias a project that will work on a series of permanent ecological forest plots in different regions of Colombia has been initiated under the direction of RBGE, Universidad del Rosario, Universidad del Tolima and Colombian NGO ColTree. The aim of the project is to improve identification of individual plants in plots through the creation of a virtual herbarium of images of the specimens collected in each of the plots and the generation of DNA barcode data. The project is running in parallel with one at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew that aims to develop an online portal for plant species of Colombia.
An essential part of this project is the standardization of naming across plots. The project is currently running a workshop at the museum of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute, Claustro de San Augustín, Villa de Leyva, studying the 5,000 or so specimens collected thus far.
Specialists in families of plants are identifying specimens and teaching identification skills to plot monitors and students associated with the plots from different regions of Colombia (from Chocó, to the Caribbean, Amazonía and Antioquia). The project will be of enormous benefit to studies in taxonomy, phylogeny, ecology and forest dynamics all of which contribute to the conservation of Colombia’s immense biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides. An additional aim of the project is to provide plot data to the RAINFOR network.
Representatives from the following institutes were in attendance: Colegio Mayor de Antioquia, Instituto Alexander von Humboldt, Jardín Botánico de Medellín, Universidad de Antioquia, Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, Universidad Industrial de Santander, Universidad de los Andes, Universidad de los Llanos, Universidad Tecnológica del Chocó, Universidad Nacional – Sede Medellín, Universidad Nacional Abierta y a Distancia -UNAD, Universidad del Norte, Universidad de Quindio, Universidad de Caldas, Universidad del Rosario, Universidad del Tolima, Fundación Convida, the Ticuna-Huitoto indigenous reservation in Amazonas, the Nonuya Villa Azul indigenous reservation in Caquetá, and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. See below for a map of where participants are located.
Photos: Lina Maria Corrales