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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XVI, Number 1, January 2009

News and Notes | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature | Season's Pick | Annotate your copy

CASE OF THE SHAKES. Those who were there to experience it on 8 January cannot seem to agree on whether the ca. 6.2 quake that shook central Costa Rica on that day was a strong temblor or a dreaded terremoto, but everyone felt it. We are happy to report that nobody in the botanical community was directly affected, as far as we know, and no botanical institutions suffered significant damage. However, Costa Rica is a very small country, and nearly everyone there knows somebody who was injured or killed, or suffered property damage. Most heavily impacted was the upper basin of the Río Sarapiquí, on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera Central, from Vara Blanca (near the pass between Volcán Poás and Volcán Barva) down to below Cariblanco. This transect will be familiar even to many non-resident biologists, as it lies along the old route (before the Guápiles highway was completed) from San José to the Estación Biológica La Selva. As we understand it, the roadway was almost completely obliterated in this area of knife-edge ridges and precipitous slopes. Family members of Manual co-editor Cecilia Herrera lost a farm in the village of Cinchona, along this route, and some also incurred minor injuries. We wish them a speedy recovery from all of their losses. Though not widely reported in the international press, innumerable aftershocks have occurred during the past several weeks, some nearly as strong as the main quake.

TALAMANCA HIGHLIGHTS. The October Darwin Initiative expedition to the Río Yorkín basin, on the Atlantic slope of easternmost Costa Rica and westernmost Panama, was detailed in this column in our last issue [see The Cutting Edge 15(4): 1–2, Oct. 2008]. Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora, who participated in the event, reports that about 60 bags of plant specimens were collected, despite drenching rain during practically the entire period. Among the more interesting trees encountered were Aiphanes hirsuta Burret, Colpothrinax aphanopetala R. Evans, and Cryosophila sp. (Arecaceae), Alzatea verticillata Ruiz & Pav. (Alzateaceae), Dacryodes sp. (Burseraceae), Metteniusa tessmanniana (Sleumer) Sleumer (Icacinaceae), Nyssa talamancana Hammel & N. Zamora (Nyssaceae), Oreomunnea sp. (Juglandaceae), Ruptiliocarpon caracolito Hammel & N. Zamora (Lepidobotryaceae), and Sacoglottis sp. A of the Manual (Humiriaceae). The richest flora was traversed from ca. 300–1000 m elevation, with Pentaclethra macroloba (Willd.) Kuntze (Fabaceae/Mimosoideae) predominating below that zone and cloud-forest vegetation above it.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN. As we write, Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora is in the midst of a 10-day stopover in Vienna, Austria, where he had agreed to present several talks on the Costa Rican flora.

YET ANOTHER WEB MAP RESOURCE. In this column of our last issue [see The Cutting Edge 15(4): 1, Oct. 2008], we provided the link to a Web site featuring all the maps from the Atlas cantonal de Costa Rica (1987), by Eduardo Chinchilla V.—an important reference for assigning Costa Rican localities to their proper cantón and (if desired) distrito. Manual correspondent Mario Blanco (FLAS) has since discovered another Web source for these same maps that is somewhat easier to use:


This site enables the reader to home in on a cantón by clicking successively in the appropriate area on country and provincial maps (with the name of the province or cantón to be accessed appearing at the end of the status bar). This cannot be done on the site we provided last quarter, where one is obliged to deal with names only; however, that site is better if one needs to actually print out a map.


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