Guide to the Plants of the Bajo Calima Region
The Bajo Calima region lies on the Pacific coast of Colombia near Buenaventura, in Valle Department. This region enjoys a warm, wet climate that supports a rain forest flora with a very high diversity of species. Extensive exploration and collecting has been done in this region by a number of botanists with the help of the company Smurfit Cartón de Colombia and the Manager of Forest Research, Dr. J. A. Wright. Preparation of an illustrated guide to its flora is currently underway by Miryam Monsalve, a Research Associate at the University of Valle in Cali, and Charlotte M. Taylor of the Missouri Botanical Garden.
This region lies south of the Río Calima, at 03°57'-04°10'N and 77°01'-12'W and 0-150 m elevation, and covers about 60,000 hectares. The area receives 7000-8000 mm of rain annually; it lies in the Chocó biogeographic region. From the 1950s until 1995, the Bajo Calima site was a timber concession to Cartón de Colombia. This company logged the site on a 30-year rotational basis, and at the same time encouraged the scientific study of the site. The company initiated the idea of a flora, and has generously supported this project through logistical and financial support.
A number of botanists have explored extensively in this region, notably Dr. Alwyn Gentry, Dr. Thomas Croat, and Miryam Monsalve. Ecological studies of forest regeneration were undertaken by Faber-Langendoen (1989), and the history of the site and broader perspectives on forest regeneration and management were presented by Ladrach & Wright (1995). A study of the aroids of the site has recently been presented (Bay, 1996): 100 species are known from the site, of which more than half are new to science.
This project is one of several the Missouri Botanical Garden currently has underway, which are targeted at accessible sites in several of the most poorly known ecosystems of Colombia.
The preliminary checklist of the Bajo Calima Region, Valle, Colombia, is currently in preparation. It will be posted as it is compiled, family by family.
Bay, D. 1996. Araceae of the Bajo Calima region, Colombia. Ph.D. Dissertation, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
Faber-Langendoen, D. 1989. Combining conservation and forestry in a Colombian rain forest: an ecological assessment. Ph.D. Dissertation, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
Ladrach, W. E. & J. A. Wright. 1995. Natural regeneration in a secondary Colombian rain forest: its implications for natural forest management in the Tropics. J. Sustainable Forestry 3(1): 15-38.