Today a few of us (William, Walter, Norma, journey down from the high cloud forest, down the Kosnipata valley past the cloud-decked slopes of San Pedro, and on into the wet heat of the Amazon lowlands. We are going to inspect the new plots that Walter has set up, at elevations of 600 m and 850 m, in the Pantiacolla front range of the Andes, the last serious topography before the vast expanses of lowland Amazonia.
The last few hours are by boat from the dock at Atalaya to the Pantiacolla lodge, a lovely lazy boat ride through gentle rapids and large pebble beaches, backed with the magnificent forested slopes of the Pantiacolla range. It is such sudden transformation of mood from the cool slopes and ever shifting slopes to the big skies of Amazonia, with towering cumulus and spiralling vultures, and a welcome all-embracing warmth.
Yadvinder Malhi is an ecosytem ecologist and Professor of Ecosystem Science at Oxford University