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Our Blog: Uncover Magical Colombia

The first in the Colombia Blog Series by Colombia Photo Expeditions, in which Kike Calvo profiles interesting information, research and thoughts on Colombia for journalism, ecotourism, science, exploration and photography.

We invite you to explore our site including:

Why Colombia?

Why Us?

Upcoming Expeditions 

Colombia on the Media

Are you a journalist, organization or tour operator in need of images of Colombia? VWPics.com archives one of the best photo libraries about Colombia, including the widest range of bird photographs in the market.
Photo: Rusty Flowerpiercer © Juan Jose Arango / VWPics

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Updated Checklist of the Freshwater Fishes of Colombia.

Diverse Colombia by Colombia Photo Expeditions, in which Kike Calvo profiles interesting information, research and thoughts on Colombia for journalism, ecotourism, science, exploration and photography.

The Asociación Colombiana de Ictiólogos (ACICTIOS), the largest network of fish experts in Colombia, has created a reference list of all the fresh water species in the country.
After Brazil, Colombia holds the Second place in the number of fresh water species, with a total of 1494, 374 of them endemic. From this total, 706 live in the Amazon, 663 in the Orinoquia, 223 in the Caribbean, 220 in the Magdalena-Cauca region, and 130 in the Pacific. All the results are available free of charge through Sistema de información en Biodiversidad  de Colombia (SIB Colombia).

Learn more about the Academic Paper here.
Photo: Cristales Selva, Caño Cristales. © Kike Calvo 

Freshwater Fish Checklist in Colombia
Freshwater Fish Checklist in Colombia by Region

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Learn More:
Ichthyology
Fishes: An Introduction to Ichthyology (5th Edition)
Fishes: A Guide to Their Diversity

Ethnobotany
One River. Wade Davis

Travel
Moon Colombia (Travel Guide)
47 Amazing Things to See and Do in Colombia
Lonely Planet Colombia (Travel Guide)
Colombia (National Geographic Adventure Map)
National Geographic Traveler: Colombia, 2nd Edition

 

 

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National Geographic Society Honors President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia for his Commitment to Conservation

Diverse Colombia by Colombia Photo Expeditions, in which Kike Calvo profiles interesting information, research and thoughts on Colombia for journalism, ecotourism, science, exploration and photography.

The National Geographic Society recently recognized President Juan Manuel Santos of the Republic of Colombia for his unwavering commitment to conservation. In a ceremony at Society headquarters, Gary E. Knell, president and CEO of National Geographic Society, along with Jean Case, chairman of the National Geographic Society Board of Trustees, honored President Santos for his dedicated efforts to protect Colombia’s environment. Colombia is one of world’s richest countries with respect to biological and cultural diversity, and President Santos has done more than many elected leaders in the Americas to expand protected areas so they’re enjoyed by generations to come.

I am proud that a selection of my Colombian land and drone footage was included in the video presented to President Santos during the event. You can see the full video in Spanish here.

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Photo © Sora DeVore / National Geographic Society

Since his election to the presidency in 2010, President Santos, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, has made significant strides on behalf of the environment, increasing the total area of Colombia’s network of protected areas to more than 6,500 square miles on land and sea. Most notably, he more than doubled the size of Chiribiquete National Park, located in the heart of Colombian Amazonia. The park contains a variety of natural wonders, from “tepuis” — table-top mountains with isolated, unique ecosystems — to some of the most botanically diverse lowland forests in the northern Amazon. The amazing animal species in Chiribiquete include jaguars, tapirs and birds found in no other region on Earth.

 

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Photo © Sora DeVore / National Geographic Society

Featured photo: National Geographic Society President and CEO Gary E. Knell (left) stands with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia (right) at a special ceremony honoring President Santos for his unwavering commitment to conservation held at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. on September 21, 2017. Photo by Sora DeVore/National Geographic

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A Teleological Approach to the Wicked Problem of Managing Utría National Park

Diverse Colombia by Colombia Photo Expeditions, in which Kike Calvo profiles interesting information, research and thoughts on Colombia for journalism, ecotourism, science, exploration and photography.

On a recent article on Environmental Values, an international peer-reviewed journal from White Horse Press, about philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology and ecology authors Nicolás Acosta García, Katharine Farrell, Hannu Heikkinen and Simo Sarkki focused on the remote biodiversity hotspot of Utría National Park in Colombia.

The Park encompasses ancestral territories of the Embera indigenous peoples and borders territories of Afro-descendant communities in El Valle.

The authors explore environmental value conflicts regarding the use of the park, describing them as a Wicked Problem that has no clear solution. Juxtaposing how the territory is perceived by different communities, they employ Faber et al.’s heuristic of the three tele of living nature to search for deficiency in the third telos, service, which we take to be symptomatic of Wicked Problems.

Based on field data encoded using the three-tele heuristic, concerning how the respective communities would like to use the park area, they identify deficiencies in the third telos and develop recommendations regarding how these might be addressed.

Full article: A Teleological Approach to the Wicked Problem of Managing Utría National Park . Authors: Acosta García, Nicolás; Farrell, Katharine N.; Heikkinen, Hannu I.; Sarkki, SimoSource: Environmental Values, Volume 26, Number 5, October 2017, pp. 583-605(23)

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Learn More:

Utria, Parque Nacional Natural, Choco-Colombia (Spanish Edition)

Trua Wuandra: Estrategias para el manejo de fauna con comunidades embera en el Parque Nacional Natural Utria, Choco, Colombia (Spanish Edition)

Estudio de La Costa Colombiana del Pacifico (Classic Reprint) (Spanish Edition)

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Pollen of Colombian Magnolias

This post is the latest in the series Uncover Diverse Colombia by Colombia Photo Expeditions, in which Kike Calvo profiles interesting information, research and thoughts on Colombia for journalism, ecotourism, science, exploration and photography.

A new journal article in Caldasia about the pollen of Colombian magnolias by Marcela Serna-González and César Velásquez-Ruiz was recently published by the Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

The articles unveils how Colombia, with 36 species, has the highest number of species of the family Magnoliaceae  in South America. In spite of the family’s evolutionary importance and significant threats to species survival, information is still lacking about Colombian Magnoliaceae due to a paucity of research. In this article, the pollen morphology of fourteen Magnolia species from Colombia is described based on size, shape, apertures, exine and sculpture.

The high uniformity of pollen morphology among the Colombian species supports the most recent classification of the American magnolias.

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Pollen of colombian magnolias.Marcela Serna-González and César Velásquez-Ruiz
Caldasia. Vol. 39, No. 1 (Enero – Junio de 2017), pp. 59-67
Published by: Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Learn More:

One River. Wade Davis

Ethnobotany: Evolution of a Discipline

Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers

Herbal Medicine Natural Remedies: 150 Herbal Remedies to Heal Common Ailments

Natural Antibiotics And Antivirals For Beginners: An Easy Guide To Herbal Medicine And Natural Healing (The Doctor’s Smarter Self Healing Series)

Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution

 

 

 

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State of the Art of Coffee Drying Technologies in Colombia

This post is the latest in the series Uncover Diverse Colombia by Colombia Photo Expeditions, in which Kike Calvo profiles interesting information, research and thoughts on Colombia for journalism, ecotourism, science, exploration and photography.

On a recent article published by Revista Espacios, the authors described how one of the most relevant stages of coffee processing is drying due to the fact that it affects the quality of the organoleptic properties of the product. At this stage, there are crucial variables such as the drying time, temperature, airflow, and the physical-chemical characteristics of the drying agent in contact with the grains, and the thickness of the drying layer, among others.

Olmos, Duque and Rodriguez reviewed the coffee drying process, the current technologies used at a national level and international technological development opportunities in order to identify the current status of the process.

As a conclusion, the article explained how in Colombia, coffee drying has been made by traditional methods; advances generally have led to improve the existing technologies; this help having better efficiency and less pollution. This research process in Colombia is limited to the scarce knowledge of coffee growers in relation to innovation and to the lack of available resources in the sector to finance further research.

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State of the art of coffee drying technologies in Colombia and their global development
Luis Carlos OLMOS Villalba 1; Eduardo Alexander DUQUE Grisales 2; Elizabeth RODRIGUEZ 3

Learn More:

Permission to Slurp: The Insider’s Guide to Tasting Specialty Coffee in Colombia Paperback – June 21, 2017 by Karen Attman

Sustainability in Coffee Production: Creating Shared Value Chains in Colombia 1st Edition by Andrea Biswas-Tortajada (Author), Asit K. Biswas

Coffee in Colombia, 1850-1970: An Economic, Social and Political History (Cambridge Latin American Studies) by Marco Palacios

Coffee and conflict in Colombia, 1886-1910 Paperback – 1978 by Charles W Bergquist 

 

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Biodiversity and Ecosystem Challenges in the Colombian Caribbean

This post is the latest in the series Uncover Diverse Colombia by Colombia Photo Expeditions, in which Kike Calvo profiles interesting information, research and thoughts on Colombia for journalism, ecotourism, science, exploration and photography.

The Colombian Caribbean, one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, is facing great challenges in biodiversity conservation due to accelerated ecosystem transformations and the territorial planning required for peacemaking.  A recent article explains how the authors conducted a systematic review of 470 documents published between 1990 and 2015 to evaluate the progress of biodiversity and ecosystem services knowledge, identify biases, and define the priorities for research.

They concluded “In the short term, the establishment of protected areas to guarantee the supply of ecosystem services for human well-being, in the middle term, an integrated territorial planning,” said the scientists in their article. “And in the long term, the promotion of the social-ecological systems perspective. Ecosystem services concept reveals the link between biodiversity and human well-being and thus could have the potential to contribute to biodiversity conservation and peace construction in the Caribbean.

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Learn more:
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Knowledge in the Colombian Caribbean
Progress and Challenges

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1Social-Ecological Systems Laboratory, Department of Ecology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
2Caribbean Biodiversity Center, Departamento de Química y Biología, Universidad del Norte, Atlántico, Colombia
3Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Claremont Graduate University, CA, USA
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Changes in the avifauna in a high Andean cloud forest in Colombia

This post is the latest in the series Uncover Diverse Colombia by Colombia Photo Expeditions, in which Kike Calvo profiles interesting information, research and thoughts on Colombia for journalism, ecotourism, science, exploration and photography.

“The upper altitude ecosystems of the Andes are among the most threatened by climate change. Computer models suggest that a large percentage of species in these ecosystems will be at risk of extinction and that avian communities will suffer disruption and impoverishment,” explained a group of scientists in a new article(1) recently published on the Journal of Field Ornithology.

As their abstract describes studies in other Andean countries lend some support to these predictions, but there are no quantitative data from Colombia appropriate to test these models. In 1991–1992. They we conducted a bird survey in a high Andean cloud forest to gather information about the species present and their abundance, attempting  to replicate this earlier study 24 yr later to detect any changes in the avifauna and determine possible causes for those changes.

The team supplemented their observational data by also capturing birds in mist-nets. Community species richness and composition as well as the overall abundance of birds changed little from 1991–1992 to 2015–2016, but nearly 30% of bird species changed in abundance. Changes in the presence or abundance of nine or 10 species reflected upward shifts in elevational limits potentially due to climate change.

The authors recommended the establishment of a monitoring program in Colombia because data obtained from such a program might be important in designing measures to mitigate the effects of climate change and conserve biodiversity.

(1) Rosselli, L., Stiles, F. G. and Camargo, P. A. (2017), Changes in the avifauna in a high Andean cloud forest in Colombia over a 24-year period. J. Field Ornithol.. doi:10.1111/jofo.12204

Photo Tanager Finch © Juan Jose Arango / VWPics

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Learn more:

Birding
Birdwatching in Colombia
A Guide to the Birds of Colombia

Travel
Moon Colombia (Travel Guide)
47 Amazing Things to See and Do in Colombia
Lonely Planet Colombia (Travel Guide)
Colombia (National Geographic Adventure Map)
National Geographic Traveler: Colombia, 2nd Edition

 

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Changing Markets: Medicinal Plant Ethnobotany in the Andes of Bolivia, Peru and Colombia

This post is the latest in the series Uncover Diverse Colombia by Colombia Photo Expeditions, in which Kike Calvo profiles interesting information, research and thoughts on Colombia for journalism, ecotourism, science, exploration and photography.

As a result of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Society for Economic Botany celebrated in Braganca (Portugal) during June 4-9 of June 2017, the book “ Living in a global world: ethnobotany, local knowledge and sustainability.” was produced. The program included  “Changing markets: medicinal plant ethnobotany in the Andes of Bolivia, Peru and Colombia” by Authors: Paniagua-Zambrana, Narel Y. [1], Bussmann, Rainer W [2], Hart, Robbie E [3], Romero, Carolina [2], Moya Huanca, Araseli Laura [1].

Given the importance of local markets as a source of medicinal plants for both healers and the population, literature on market flows and the value of the plant material traded is rather scarce. This stands in contrast to wealth of available information for other com- ponents of Andean ethnobotany. The present study attempts to remedy this situation by providing a detailed inventory of medicinal plant markets in the La Paz-El Alto (Bolivia); Lima, Trujillo and Chiclayo (Peru) and Bogota (Colombia). Both species composition, and medicinal applications, have changed considerably over time. From 2001-2015, semi– structured interviews were conducted with hundreds of plant vendors in order to elucidate more details on plant usage and provenance. The results of the present study were then compared to previous inventories of medicinal plants in the region, as much as available, to elucidate changes over time and impact of interview techniques. Over the years we we encountered and documented over 800 plant species. This indicates a great wealth of ethnobotanical knowledge in the Andean region of South America. All markets show a considerable change over the last few decades, with new species being introduced into the market chain, and other species being replaced. In course of the present study it became apparent that even well known species might often be replaced by other ap- parently similar but botanically unrelated species due to environmental and market forces The present data indicate that, while the floristic composition of often remained relatively constant over the last decades, the number of indications for which certain species were used increased tremendously, and that profound differences exist even between markets in close proximity. The dramatic increase in previously not used species used per indica- tion might pose serious risks for consumers. We found serious problems due to species replacements. Even plants that have a well established vernacular name, and are easily recognizable botanically, can be replaced by other species that can pose a serious health risk. Vendor education and stringent identification of the material sold in public markets are clearly needed.

 

1 – Universidad Nacional de San Andres, Herbario Nacional de Bolivia, Cota Cota, La Paz, Murillo, Bolivia; 2 – Missouri Botanical Garden, WLBC, PO Box 299, Saint Louis, Missouri, 63166-0299, United States; 3 – Missouri Botanical Garden, WLBC, P. O. Box 299, Saint Louis, MO, 63166-0299, United States

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Learn More:

Ethnobotany: Evolution of a Discipline

Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers

Herbal Medicine Natural Remedies: 150 Herbal Remedies to Heal Common Ailments

Natural Antibiotics And Antivirals For Beginners: An Easy Guide To Herbal Medicine And Natural Healing (The Doctor’s Smarter Self Healing Series)

Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution

 

Photo: Botanical Garden of the Pacific. Mecana River Nature Reserve. Bahia Solano, Choco, Colombia. © Kike Calvo

 

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Support victims of flooding and mudslides in Colombia

This post is the latest in the series Uncover Diverse Colombia by Colombia Photo Expeditions, in which Kike Calvo profiles interesting information, research and thoughts on Colombia for journalism, ecotourism, science, exploration and photography.
As you have probably seen in the news, three rivers surrounding the southern and very remote city of Mocoa overflowed, leaving highways, bridges and homes flattened. Colombia Photo Expeditions has decided to mobilize.
Our philosophy as a boutique travel company is based in environmentally friendly and sustainable tourism. Our aim is to ensure that the travel development in Colombia takes a sustainable path. Colombia Photo Expeditions promotes partnerships with local businesses in the destinations we travel rather using big international companies. This also means that the people you meet on the ground are locals who know their area better than anyone, and can take you deep into their home country or region.
For this and many other reasons, we felt sending this communication was the right thing to do. Help Colombia mudslide victims and support our efforts. We are in regular communications with people on the ground, so your donations will be used to buy what is needed most at this moment in time.

If you are considering traveling with us in the future, if you donate $100 now, we will discount such amount from your travel package fee.

Take Action and help Colombia mudslide victims