Colombia, well known as the number one country for birds, also boasts the richest diversity of orchids in the world. This wealth of fauna and flora presents unique challenges for ProAves’ Nature Reserves, as well as an incredible research opportunity.
ProAves El Dorado Reserve, located in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, is striving to deepen our understanding of biodiversity by advancing research that focuses on cataloging the vast wealth of orchids that are found in this territory.
This research project, conducted by Miguel Ángel Gómez Riaño, a student of the National University of Colombia, is being carried out at an altitude ranging from 1700 to 2900 meters above sea level (masl) and has so far recorded 70 species distributed in 30 genera of the Orchidaceae family, a high richness considering that the sampling percentage of the area is low.
This research exercise is being carried out on four trails of the Reserve, where the preliminary results highlight the diversity of species in this area and a large number of species such as Pleurothallis, Stelis and Lepanthes, which correspond to the most diverse genera of orchids in Colombia. These comprise epiphytic orchids characterized by their small size, with flowers that can measure less than 1 cm.
Among the results are the registration of species such as Oncidium nevadense, endemic to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, as well as Epidendum mucroceras, known only in the departments of Magdalena and Cesar.
This research has inspired the ongoing creation of a Guide of Orchids from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, which will show the wealth that the ProAves El Dorado Reserve has, while supporting Colombia’s position as the number one place for orchid biodiversity in the world.