Monitoring of meteorological variables in the Quinuas River Ecohydrological Observatory. (Photo credit: Galo Carrillo-Rojas)

Monitoring of meteorological variables in the Quinuas River Ecohydrological Observatory. (Photo credit: Galo Carrillo-Rojas)

Can you imagine transporting to a magic realm full of beauty, nature and good vibe and being able to unravel its hidden secrets? Well, in the field guide attached to this post you will be taken to a short journey through two Ecohydrological Observatories in the páramo, where a bunch of enthusiastic and motivated young researchers have overcome the struggles of the environmental conditions in these sites located at the top of the Andean mountain range to discover its most hidden secrets. These pioneer investigators have provided answers to some simple but highly relevant questions in our days, such as: How much does it rain in the páramo? How does elevation influence climate in the Andean Highlands? How much do soils and vegetation evapotranspire? What is the origin, age and fate of water in the páramo? among others…

Water level gauge for monitoring streamflow in the Zhurucay River Ecohydrological Observatory. (Photo credit: Mario Cordova)

Water level gauge for monitoring streamflow in the Zhurucay River Ecohydrological Observatory. (Photo credit: Mario Cordova)

Giving answers to these questions is urgently needed not only to advance the hydrological, ecological, and biological understanding in tropical understudied regions, but also to improve the management of water resources in these fragile and remote regions. Improved understanding of such processes is also critical to the adaptation to and mitigation of land use and climate change and variability impacts. To this end, the Department of Water Resources and Environmental Sciences (iDRHICA) at the University of Cuenca in Ecuador has instrumented and monitored two sites in the tropical Andes with sensor of ultimate technology that allow for a more rapid understanding of the hidden secrets of the páramo.

The field guide describes the motivation of the carried out research, a detailed description of the instrumentation of these sites and brief summaries of the main results obtained from these effort. This guide was built and provided to the attendees of an AGU Chapman Conference focused on “Emerging Issues in Tropical Ecohydrology”, held in Cuenca, Ecuador in June 2016. Now, I want to give you the opportunity to be transported to this magical sites as you read through the guide and to keep following the work conducted in these two observatories at the top of the Andes, as knowledge that allows further understanding of the secrets of this ecosystem towards its improved management and conservation is produced.

Field visit to the grasslands of the Zurucay River Ecohydrological Observatory during the AGU Chapman Conference on Emerging Issues in Tropical Ecohydrology. (Photo credit: iDRHICA)

Field visit to the grasslands of the Zurucay River Ecohydrological Observatory during the AGU Chapman Conference on Emerging Issues in Tropical Ecohydrology. (Photo credit: iDRHICA)

Downloasd the  Field guide here

Visit the  iDRHICA research gate