Sumapaz Páramo is considered the largest moorland in the world. The Sumapaz National Natural Park protects this high mountain grassland ecosystem, located in the Altiplano Cundibohyacense mountain range, within the Colombian Andes.
Sumapaz Páramo is considered the largest moorland ecosystem in the world. This high mountain grassland biome is located in the Altiplano Cundibohyacense mountain range, within the Cordillera Oriental, the easternmost range of the Colombian Andes.
The area was considered a sacred place for the Muisca (or Chibcha) civilization. These indigenous people flourished in the region between 600 and 1600 CE although there is evidence of them in the region as far back as 1500 B.C.E.
The climate here is inhospitable due to its alpine tundra location which averages between 3,500 and 4,000 m (11,500 and 13,000 ft) asl. Temperatures range from −10 °C to 17 °C (14 °F to 62 °C) to and can change quickly. Humidity is high.
The landscape is often wet, covered with shallow bodies of water ("Chupaderos" or "Chucuas") which often are hidden under dense vegetation.
Sumapaz National Natural Park
In 1977, approximately 178,000 ha (440,00 acres) of the Sumapaz Páramo was declared as a National Natural Park of Colombia due to its importance as both a biodiversity hotspot and source of water. With lakes formed by retreating glaciers, the area is also one of the largest water reserves in the country.
It is located in five municipalities of the department of Cundinamarca (Pasca, Arbeláez, San Bernardo, Cabrera and Gutiérrez); six municipalities of the department of Meta (Acacias, Guamal, Cubarral, El Castillo, Lejanías and Uribe), one municipality in the department of Huila (Colombia) and two districts in Bogotá (Usme and Sumapaz).
The Sumapaz National Natural Park is an important reservoir of biological, ecological and genetic diversity in Colombia. It contains a high presence of endemic plants and animals.
Over 200 species of vascular plants are native to the area with a substantial amount of endemism. The most representative plants of the area are the Espeletia, commonly known as 'frailejones' ("big monks"). In the canyons areas, the encenillo tree and tibouchina are the dominant species
Sphagnum moss covers wide areas of Sumapaz, which increases the soil's capacity to hold water and nutrients.
Fauna includes the endangered Spectacled Bear, along with the Little Red Brocket Deer, tapir, coati, golden eagle, torrent duck and Páramo duck.