Recovering long-term vegetation and environmental records in Andean ecosystems of Colombia

In June 2019, palaeoecology team visited and sampled lakes from contrasting regions in terms of natural ecosystems and cultures. We crossed the Eastern Cordillera of Colombia from the lowland forests in the mid-Magdalena Valley to High Andean forest in the Cundiboyacense Plateau, covering an altitudinal transect from 200 to 3000 m asl. We traveled around 2300 km, exploring and sampling the lakes, but also participating in the socialization campaigns where the project introduction was successful.

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Evaluating the resilience of soils in Andean ecosystems

Figure 1. Study area, Serrania Las Quinchas, Puerto Pinzón, Puerto Boyacá, Boyacá, Colombia. The area chosen in yellow contains nine triangles (yellow, pink and green) indicating forest plots at different successional stages. Three yellow circles show plots with pastures associates to trees.

The BioResilience soil field team is currently led by Dr Carmen Montes, Universidad Nacional Abierta y a Distancia UNAD de Colombia, in collaboration with Dr Julieth Serrano and Dr Ted Feldpausch. Dr Montes went to the field to sample soil at 12 plots at La Serrania de las Quinchas  (Puerto Pinzón, Puerto Boyacá, Boyacá, Colombia). This region on the western flank of the Andes Eastern range mountain has elevations between 250 m to 1500 m a.s.l. (Figure 1). The average temperature is 27 °C in the low zones and  23 °C in the high mountain. Relative air humidity varies between 79% and 88% (Ovalle-Pacheco, Camacho-Rozo, & Arroyo,2019).

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Disonancia Sugerida, experimento artístico en el espacio intermedio

Suggested Dissonance is an invitation to an artistic research process by sharing cross-sectional narratives to questions and encounters. This path will take us through the forest, the relational, the interdisciplinary, the sense of belonging, the notion of place, exchange and dialogue between different kinds of knowledge which are intertwined concepts in a space in between. This collective ritual offers the opportunity for participants to become active agents in this shared multisensory experience.

This event is part of the project “Colombia BioResilience: Biodiversity resilience and ecosystem services in post-conflict socio-ecological systems in Colombia”, an interdisciplinary collaboration between the University of Bristol and University of Exeter (United Kingdom), which has given the opportunity to the artist Seila Fernández Arconada to generate this research during her placement at the Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute (Colombia).


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Collaboration with San Bartolomé School

San Bartolomé is the oldest school in Bogotá which laid the first stone to the later universities such as Universidad Nacional and Javeriana. Dr. Dunia Urrego suggested this school as a context for collaborative dialogue. This process began with a number of meetings with the Dean, Father Juan Manuel and the Director Wilson Alonso. 

The first meeting was based on a presentation of the project and previous projects I have done in order to illustrate examples for possible ideas of interest. There was a shared interest in collaborative practices in order to generate between spaces for reflection, creation and exchange. In the school, some teachers had made pilot programs experimenting with pedagogy using transversal programs trying to implement interdisciplinary projects, creative forms of engagement and experiential and multisensorial processes with nature. This ground was a “meeting point” from which a number of meetings took place in order to think collectively on ideas and structures that could be applied in the classroom and furthermore structures at the school. 


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Presentation, deep mapping

I was asked to present a “work in progress” intervention in the Social Sciences team meeting at the Instituto Humboldt. This presentation was included in the section“Knowledge systems”. 

For this presentation I followed a deep mapping strategy trying to generate further transversal narratives across concepts, questions, methods and encounters; ingredients that feed the following outcomes of this placement. The following paragraphs are the presentation  (in Spanish).

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Process from Instituto Humboldt

The project allowed me to be based at Instituto Humboldt in Bogotá while undertaking the three months placement. I  joined the work dynamic at the department of Social Sciences in the Instituto Humboldt with Dr. Olga Lucia Hernández Manrique on the lead in order to learn from their approach on interdisciplinarity as it is the core of their existence; projects, shared resources and the atmosphere of the teams in action encompass such approach.  

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Resilience workshop

This workshop was facilitated by Olga Lucia Hernandez and Seila Fernández Arconada with a number of previous discussions between Mónica Amador, Olga Lucia Hernández, Alejandra Osejo y Seila Fernández Arconada in order to accomplish the program of the day.

There was an intervention at the windows of the workshop room. Each window holds a concept that is over-layered with the forest behind. The difficulty of reading depending on the close focus; interferences are always present but even behind in this case (and others) the most important thing is what we are working for, the forest. This metaphor nevertheless is a glimpse to accompany the journey across concepts including multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, forest, resilience among other conceptual representations that bring all participants to the here-and-now and the aim of collaborating during this workshop and beyond.

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