Sumapaz Páramo

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Sumapaz Páramo_table_infobox_0

Páramo de SumapazSumapaz Páramo_header_cell_0_0_0
LocationSumapaz Páramo_header_cell_0_1_0 CundinamarcaSumapaz Páramo_cell_0_1_1
Nearest citySumapaz Páramo_header_cell_0_2_0 BogotáSumapaz Páramo_cell_0_2_1
CoordinatesSumapaz Páramo_header_cell_0_3_0 Sumapaz Páramo_cell_0_3_1
AreaSumapaz Páramo_header_cell_0_4_0 178,000 hectaresSumapaz Páramo_cell_0_4_1
EstablishedSumapaz Páramo_header_cell_0_5_0 1977Sumapaz Páramo_cell_0_5_1
Governing bodySumapaz Páramo_header_cell_0_6_0 SINAPSumapaz Páramo_cell_0_6_1

Sumapaz Páramo (Spanish: Páramo de Sumapaz - meaning "Utterly peaceful moorland" ) is a large páramo ecosystem located in the Altiplano Cundiboyacense mountain range, considered the largest páramo ecosystem in the world. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_0

It was declared a National Park of Colombia in 1977 because of its importance as a biodiversity hotspot and main source of water for the most densely populated area of the country, the Bogotá savanna. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_1

History Sumapaz Páramo_section_0

Sumapaz Páramo was considered a sacred place for the Muisca indigenous people. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_2

It was associated with the divine forces of creation and the origin of mankind, a domain where humans were not supposed to enter. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_3

During the 16th century, German adventurer and conquistador Nikolaus Federmann conducted an expedition crossing the Sumapaz, searching for El Dorado mythic treasure, with heavy casualties. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_4

The place was named by the Spaniards "País de la Niebla" ("Country of Fog") because of the dense clouds at ground level, with great decrease in visibility. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_5

In 1783, José Celestino Mutis led the Botanic Expedition, with the purpose of studying the flora and fauna of the region. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_6

However, the páramo was not visited because of its harsh climatic conditions. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_7

The German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt made the first description of the páramo and the local plants in 1799. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_8

He also described the presence of glacier valleys and associated the geologic features of the region, comparing them with those seen in the geomorphology of the Alps. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_9

During the early 20th century, the Spanish naturalist José Cuatrecasas made important research of the páramo and the tree line. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_10

Other scientists that described and studied Sumapaz páramo were Ernesto Guhl, who conducted a long-term 3-decade research of the vegetal communities, and Thomas van der Hammen. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_11

Climate and geography Sumapaz Páramo_section_1

See also: Northern Andean páramo Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_12

Sumapaz Páramo has an inhospitable, cold climate with temperatures averaging below 10 °C (50 °F). Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_13

(ranging from −10 °C to 17 °C) with quick changes from short periods of warm climate to freezing cold. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_14

The average altitude oscillates between 3500 and 4000 m. AMSL. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_15

The highest point is the Nevado del Sumapaz peak (4306 m AMSL). Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_16

The precipitation is about 700–1000 mm/year. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_17

The rainy season lasts almost the entire year, except from December to February, when the sunlight reaches a peak, with intense ultraviolet radiation (adaptations such as white, glassy coloration help the local plants to survive). Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_18

The humidity is usually high, (from 50 to 90%), and the ground remains soaked, and covered by shallow bodies of water and sticky mud, often covered with dense, flat vegetation difficult to spot by the inexperienced visitor, with danger of falling into them, and risk of drowning or other injuries. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_19

These places are called "Chupaderos" or "Chucuas" ("Drainages"). Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_20

Sumapaz lies between the Orinoco River basin and the Magdalena River basin, the two main fluvial systems of Colombia, and provides tributaries to both. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_21

All but one of the tributaries of the Sumapaz River originate in the páramo. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_22

Its location on the Thermal equator generates high rates of precipitation, which together with its endemic flora that regulate the soil moisture acting like sponges for the rain waters, contribute to the high amount of surface water and its role as source of water reservoirs. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_23

Geology Sumapaz Páramo_section_2

The eastern part of Sumapaz consists of Devonian metamorphic rock formations, with fault scarped configuration, and alpine landscapes. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_24

Its western part consists of Oligocene sedimentary rocks, with softer landscapes. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_25

The different stages of the Quaternary glaciation left plenty of glacier debris, and glacier lakes such as Chisaca lake. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_26

During the Last Glacial Maximum, the glacier motion of the ice sheets through the Tunjuelo valley reached as far as Usme (today part of Bogotá). Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_27

Soil Sumapaz Páramo_section_3

The soil of this region is acidic, with high levels of sodium and potassium. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_28

This is a coarse-grained soil, with high permeability favoring the formation of groundwater in aquifers. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_29

The composition of the soil and the low temperatures contribute to the low amount of humus and poor decomposing of the organic matter making this soil largely unsuitable for agriculture. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_30

Flora Sumapaz Páramo_section_4

Over 200 species of vascular plants are native to the area with substantial amount of endemisms. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_31

The most representative plants of the area are the Espeletias. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_32

Several species have been described here, the most common being Espeletia grandiflora Humb. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_33

& Bonpl. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_34

The largest one is Espeletia uribei Cuatrec., with specimens up to 12 meters of height, other species are: Espeletia algodonosa Aristeg. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_35

Espeletia banksiifolia Sch.Bip. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_36

& Ettingsh. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_37

ex Wedd. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_38

Espeletia cuatrecasasii Ruíz-Terán & López-Fig. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_39

Espeletia formosa S.Díaz & Rodr.-Cabeza Espeletia glossophylla Mattf. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_40

Espeletia killipii Cuatrec. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_41

Espeletia picnophyla Cuatrec. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_42

Espeletia schultzii (Benth.) Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_43

W.M.Curtis and Espeletia curialensis Cuatrec. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_44

The Sphagnum moss covers wide areas of Sumapaz, which increases the soil's capacity to hold water and nutrients by increasing capillary forces and cation exchange capacity. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_45

In the canyons areas, encenillo tree and tibouchina are the dominant species. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_46

The European plant Digitalis purpurea is an introduced species, the way of its introduction is not known, either deliberate or accidental. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_47

Fauna Sumapaz Páramo_section_5

The endangered spectacled bear lives in Sumapaz, its main source of food being the Puya boyacana fruits and the Espeletia plant stems, (known as caulirosule). Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_48

Other animals described are: Little Red Brocket Deer, tapir, coati, golden eagle, torrent duck, Páramo duck (Anas georgica). Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_49

An introduced species in the waterbodies is the rainbow trout. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_50

Socio-economic issues Sumapaz Páramo_section_6

Although the soil and climate are adverse for agriculture and other economic activities, human settlements do exist in the Sumapaz Páramo, including the villages of San Juan de Sumapaz, Nazareth, Santa Rosa and El Hato (only the first two have road access) with an estimated 1200 families, most of them under the poverty threshold, living on less than $1.25 per day, without schools or sanitation. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_51

In consequence, the peasants often invade the protected area to grow potato crops. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_52

The natural forest line is severely altered by human activity (logging, intensive grazing), which makes the difference between natural and artificial grasslands difficult to distinguish. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_53

An estimated 10,000 heads of cattle live or feed within the protected area. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_54

In 1950, president Mariano Ospina Pérez ordered the Colombian banks not to approve loans destined to establishment of crops or cattle at altitudes higher than 3,500 metres (11,500 ft) as an attempt to discourage such activities. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_55

Illegal armed groups such as FARC and ELN guerrillas used the area in recent years as a corridor for the transportation of kidnapping victims, weapon trafficking and drug trafficking. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_56

The Colombian government, in accordance with democratic security policies, established a center of military operations in 2002: the General Antonio Arredondo Military base, achieving the withdrawal of the illegal forces. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_57

However, the presence of the Colombian army has generated controversy over the environmental impact, with alleged destruction of the frailejones, whose leaves are supposedly collected by the soldiers for making rudimentary mattresses to sleep on. Sumapaz Páramo_sentence_58

See also Sumapaz Páramo_section_7

Sumapaz Páramo_unordered_list_0

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Páramo.