Amid water worries, páramos get attention


When Rafael Amador walks out his farmhouse door 11,500 feet (3,500 meters) up in the Andes, he steps onto a bleak, mist-shrouded moor of yellow, cactus-like flailejones (Espeletia), two-meter-high purple puyas (Bromeliaceae) and dark, spongy soil. Though he has lived here for 30 years, he marvels at the fog-shrouded landscape where water filters into aqueducts below and abundant springs feed the 1,000-mile (1,600-km) Magdalena River as well as the Orinoco watershed 370 miles (600 kms) away. But Amador is worried. At least 50% of the Cruz Verde páramo has been ruined by land-hungry potato, sheep and cattle farmers. Houses have been built, and the terrain cut up and tilled. And while much of the surreal beauty survives... [Log in to read more]

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