The Sinú Valley dry forests is an ecoregion in the north of Colombia at the northwestern extreme of the Andes range. The region is known for its tremendous biodiversity richness due to its high number of species and level of endemism.
Sinú Valley Dry Forests
The Sinú Valley dry forests is an ecoregion in the north of Colombia, located at the northwestern extreme of the Andes range. It is known for its tremendous biodiversity richness due to its high number of species and level of endemism.
The Sinú Valley region is a bridge, a genetic corridor, a contact zone and a center of endemism. It is also believed to be a paleo-environment of a past geological age.
The wide altitudinal gradient, from the upper peaks of the Paramillo, at 3.960 m (12,992 ft), to the low alluvial valley at 200 m (656 ft) and the mangroves at sea level, makes it possible for the region to have several types of ecosystems and forests within a relatively small area.
The Sinú Valley has one of the most fertile soils in Colombia due to the annual floods of the Sinú River, which, together with a seasonal climate, has developed a rich and endemic flora within an ecosystem very abundant in wildlife. To the north, moist forests and the Caribbean Sea surround this seasonally dry region.
Rainfall is highly seasonal, with a dry period between January and March and a rainy season between April and December, with a short dry period around June.
Flora and Fauna
Situated near the Darien-Panama bridge and between two significant ecoregions, the Chocó wet forests and the Magdalena Valley montane forests, the Sinú Valley dry forests are a crossroads for flora and fauna between the Americas.
Because of the wetlands (lagoons, marshes, swamps and mangroves) near the coast and its location in the northernmost part of the continent, the valley is the place of arrival for many migratory species of birds of prey, waterfowl and songbirds during the northern winters.
Savanna deer, puma, crab-eating raccoon, and jaguarundi can be found throughout the open grasslands taking refuge in the dry forest patches.
Many more species of birds, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods are known to occur here. However, this is one of the least biologically known ecoregions of Colombia.
Today, the Sinú Valley is covered by grasslands for cattle ranching with introduced grass species like Bracchiaria spp. and indigenous grasses such as Andropogon spp. Agriculture is mainly commercial today, with such crops as cotton, soybean, rice, papaya and watermelon.
Map depicting the location of the Sinú Valley dry forests (in purple)