Cachalú Biological Reserve, Colombia

Adopt the Ancient Oak Forest in the Tropical Andes

The Andes Mountains of Colombia contain all of the country's major cities and half of its rural population. At the same time, the rugged Andes are home to a wealth of biodiversity, including many species of plants and animals that are found nowhere else on Earth. Because of the variety of altitudes on the mountain slopes, the area includes many different ecosystems: high-altitude paramo, mountain forests, dry tropical forest and lowland rainforest. However, due to the demands of a growing population, the Andes' ecosystems have deteriorated, and many flora and fauna species are threatened or endangered.

In 1984, the Nature Foundation, a local conservation group, began doing biological research in the Andes and working with local residents to preserve the forests. The group's efforts resulted in the creation of the Cachalú Biological Reserve -- 1,800 acres of forest mainly comprised of majestic, ancient oak trees (Quercus humboldtii). From a biologist's point of view, the reserve is ideally located on the western slopes of the Andes Mountains. The oak forests protect some 225 species of birds and 70 species of mammals, including the endangered spectacled bear, the only bear found in Latin America. Other amazing wildlife includes the nine-banded armadillo, the beautiful cock of the rock bird, and the leaf-cutter ant. It's is a small but vital reserve, and the Nature Foundation is working to add more acres of forest to Cachalú.

To help secure land to add to the reserve, the Nature Foundation joined the Rainforest Alliance's Adopt-A-Rainforest campaign. Because the Andean oak forest is so special and rare, it is important to protect more land before developers and loggers cut down the area's regal and moss-laden trees. Each acre that the Nature Foundation can add to the cool, moist forests of Cachalú, which conservationists call "the land of heaven," offers more hope for the future of this special ecosystem AND the people of Colombia.

Regardless of the size of your donation, your contributions are added to the Adopt-A-Rainforest fund. As soon as land becomes available, the Nature Foundation negotiates with landowners and works with attorneys to get the best price and clear title to the land. When an agreement is reached, it is important that the Nature Foundation is able to act quickly!