The Alameda Food Market in Cali, Colombia
14.12.2014 - 14.12.2014
Boasting a size of less than one percent of the Earth's land mass, Colombia is the world's second most biodiverse country on the planet after Brazil, a country that is seven times larger. Biologically, this country that occupies the northwest corner of the South American continent is quite hotspot with scientists placing it atop the of "megadiverse" regions in the world. Nearly ten percent of all the world's species are to be found here.
Colombia ranks first in the number of bird species, some 1,900 or more than Europe and North America combined; the country also boasts more orchid species than any other land with perhaps as many as 3,500 species present. That's a full fifteen percent of all the world's orchids. The Convention of Biological Diversity say this about Colombia:
Colombia is listed as one of the world’s “megadiverse” countries, hosting close to 10% of the planet’s biodiversity. Worldwide, it ranks first in bird and orchid species diversity and second in plants, butterflies, freshwater fishes and amphibians. With 314 types of ecosystems, Colombia possesses a rich complexity of ecological, climatic, biological and ecosystem components. Colombia was ranked as one of the world’s richest countries in aquatic resources, which is explained in part by the fact that the country’s large watersheds feed into the four massive sub-continental basins of the Amazon, Orinoco, Caribbean, Magdalena-Cauca and the Pacific. The country has several areas of high biological diversity in the Andean ecosystems, characterized by a significant variety of endemic species, followed by the Amazon rainforests and the humid ecosystems in the Chocó biogeographical area. This varied richness represents a significant challenge for implementing sustainable development initiatives. However, a considerable part of these natural ecosystems has been transformed for agriculture, primarily in the Andean and Caribbean regions. It has been estimated that almost 95% of the country’s dry forests have been reduced from their original cover, including close to 70% of typically Andean forests.
Having 314 ecosystems translates into quite the variety of fruits and vegetables making Colombia one of the world's most diverse gastronomic destinations. A visit to the old food market known as La Galeria de la Alameda in Cali, Colombia is a sensory delight for the eyes, nose, tongue, and ears and even skin as you touch the exotic skins of some of Colombia's incredible variety of fruit. In the Passiflora genus (Passionfruit) alone, Colombia grows 167 different species, 165 of these native. That's 27 percent of the entire genus. [John Ocampo Pérez. "Diversity of Colombian Passiloraceae: biogeography and an updated list for conservation" in Biota Colombian 8 (1) 1-45. 2007]