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When the classroom is the jungle

I was fortunate to spend two weeks in Loja (Ecuador) lecturing on tropical ecology, as part of a course that is taught in the MSc in Conservation Biology and Tropical Ecology of the UTPL. Half of the course was spent on the field visiting different tropical ecosystems of southern Ecuador. First we went to Podocarpus National Park to see montante cloud forests and paramos, and from there we moved on to Reserva La Ceiba, in Zapotillos, to see some tropical dry forests.

Students get into Podocarpus National Park with one of the park rangers.

As part of the course the students measured the physiognomic structure and analyzed the diversity of different forest types, in order to conduct a comparative study of the main characteristics of varying tropical ecosystems. And, alternating with the field work, the students had some lectures and discussion sessions. It is outstanding to teach tropical ecology when the classroom is the jungle!

Students from the MSc listen to explanations about the formation of the Andes by Rodrigo Cisneros.

A “chonto” or little red brocket (Mazama rufina), a small deer native to the Andes.

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