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Cloud Forest

Manu’s cloud forest is a unique and eerie environment that you wouldn’t expect to find just a stone’s throw away from the Amazon rainforest. Often completely shrouded in fog, the trees are shorter and more twisted than their jungle cousins, mosses and lichens are abundant, growing over everything, and the temperature is cooler than the lowlands.

The cloud forest sits on the eastern slopes of the Andes mountains, forming a thin transition between the rainforest at low elevations and the puna grasslands higher up. The flora here gets much of it’s moisture from the clouds themselves, droplets of fog condense on the leaves and then drip down to the ground watering the plants at a slow but steady rate. Eventually this will make it’s way downhill and enter rivers, providing water for people and other ecosystems.

Because it is so narrow the cloud forest is home to many rare species, like the endangered Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Peru’s national bird. It’s red and black colouring causes it to stand out from the overwhelming green and grey of the forest in an almost unnatural way.

Among the plant life that thrives here are many orchids, ferns, that have been around since the times of the dinosaurs, and bromeliads, one of the more recent plant groups to have evolved.

It’s such a wonderful and precious place, a perfect example of the diversity of Manu.

 

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