Water resources in the páramo of Pacaipampa

Tropical alpine wetlands, locally known as páramos or jalcas, are real natural water towers. The excellent infiltration and water storage capacity of the soil promotes slow subsurface flows over quick surface runoff and contribute to a sustained base flow in rivers.

But páramos are fragile.Cattle grazing and other land use, may reduce the soil infiltration and storage capacity, with potentially severe consequences for the local water cycle. How exactly a páramo will respond, depends on the local environmental setting, which can be very diverse. To understand this, hydrological monitoring is required. Very few stations of the national network are located in the páramo, and therefore farmers and NGOs have started to implement a monitoring network with the help of CONDESAN.

Pacaipampa is one of the pioneering sites. With our ESPA project we experiment with new technologies to process these data and turn them into useful information for a wide range of users.

Paramo of Pacaipampa

Ecosystem services in the rainforest of Pacaya Samiria

Paramo of Pacaipampa

The biodiversity of the Peruvian rainforest ranks among the highest in the world with regard to amphibians, birds, mammals, insects and plants. The relevance of Yasuní extends beyond biological diversity, as it is home to unique indigenous groups that have been contacted in recent years, or that live in voluntary isolation.

The palm tree Mauritia Flexuosa plays an important role in the local economy. The tree itself is used for fibre and for the extraction of palm hearts. The fruits are very oily, and a source of food for mammals such as the ant eater. The distribution of the palm tree strongly depends on hydrological conditions. It favours very wet conditions and is restricted to areas with frequent inundation.

In our project, we analyse the relation between the river regime and the swamps were the palm tree grows. Using hydrological and hydraulic models, we intend to model the impact of human disturbances such as climate change. Using web-enabled visualisation techniques allow us to communicate the results in real time to the National Park management and local NGOs.