Early morning taxi through the fog to Lima airport. My adventures to Peru seem to always start like this. Today is when the big action begins, as our large team assembles in the field and will be there in various forms for six monhs. It will be chaos, but I am confident it will be surmountable chaos. And it will be an astonishing achievement.
Under the bright skies of Cusco I meet up at our project house with several members of our team: Greg Goldsmith from Berkeley, Ben Blonder from Arizona, Greg Asner and Robin Martin from Stanford and Chris Doughty from Oxford, along with many of our Peruvian team including Walter. After the inevitable delays we head out on the spectacular drive across the mountains to the Wayqecha field station, near the treeline of the Andes where the cloud forest meets the puna grasslands.
I have done this journey many times but for this first time I find this windy journey quite nausea-inducing: perhaps a combination of just arriving at high elevation, a poor vehicle and a jerky driver.
But the final arrival into the whispering clouds and lush green forests of the Kosnipata valley is as spectacular as ever.
Yadvinder Malhi is an ecosytem ecologist and Professor of Ecosystem Science at Oxford University