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University of Amsterdam (NL) - Páramo Vegetation Research, National Natural Park El Cocuy, Colombia

Latest version published by University of Amsterdam / IBED on Jul 14, 2015 University of Amsterdam / IBED

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) from University of Amsterdam (UvA) has been working on the Paramos of Colombia since 1970, collecting information on different aspects of plant ecology. The Sierra Nevada del Cocuy data set is generated from two sources, one is the field data from professor Antoine Cleef (collected in different field campaigns between 1972 and 2012, derived from his PhD thesis (1981), the ECOANDES project and independent field trips) and the second is a study on paramo ecology by Helmut Sturm and Orlando Rangel in 1985. Both studies provide information on the occurrence and location of 2147 plant species from the Paramo in this area. For the purpose of the GBIF data-publishing, vegetation releve data were converted into species occurrence data.

Data Records

The data in this occurrence resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 2,147 records.

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


Download the latest version of this resource data as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) or the resource metadata as EML or RTF:

Data as a DwC-A file download 2,147 records in English (84 KB) - Update frequency: not planned
Metadata as an EML file download in English (16 KB)
Metadata as an RTF file download in English (16 KB)


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Sturm H., O. Rangel. 1985. Ecologia de los Paramos Andinos: una visión preliminar integrada. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales - Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Bogota. 292p.


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is University of Amsterdam / IBED. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 License.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 0b328835-ea95-4ec3-a0f4-dd2dba993f1f.  University of Amsterdam / IBED publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by Netherlands Biodiversity Information Facility.


Colombia Andean Paramos National Natural Park El Cocuy Páramo vegetation Altitude Réleve method Braun-Blanquet method Conservation; Occurrence; Observation


Who created the resource:

Antoine M. Cleef
University of Amsterdam Science Park 904 NL-1098HX Amsterdam Noord-Holland NL

Who can answer questions about the resource:

Antoine M. Cleef
University of Amsterdam Science Park 904 NL-1098HX Amsterdam Noord-Holland NL

Who filled in the metadata:

S. Paola Reyes
Research Assistent
NLBIF, IBED, University of Amsterdam Science Park 904 NL-1098HX Amsterdam Noord-Holland NL

Who else was associated with the resource:

Cees H.J. Hof
Node Manager
NLBIF P.O. Box 93102 NL-1090 BC Amsterdam Noord-Holland NL +31 20 5255496

Geographic Coverage

El Cocuy National Natural Park (PNN El Cocuy), is located in the border between the province of Boyaca with the provinces of Casanare, Arauca, Norte de Santander and Santander. The PNN El Cocuy includes the municipalities of Guican, Chiscas, El Cocuy, Chita, La Salina, Tame, Furtul and Cubará. The altitudinal range of the PNN El Cocuy is wide from 600m.a.s.l. up to 5330m.a.s.l. And the vegetation data were collected between 3950m.a.s.l. up to in the paramo and superparamo biomass.

Bounding Coordinates South West [6.09, -72.49], North East [6.94, -71.83]

Taxonomic Coverage

All plants identified to species level. Vegetation including phanerogams, bryophytes and lichens.

Kingdom  Plantae (Phanerogams),  Plantae (Bryophytes),  Fungi (Lichens)

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 1972-01-01 / 2012-02-02

Project Data

No Description available

Title Field data from Antoine Cleef and a study on Andean Paramos Ecology from Sturm H., and O. Rangel 1985
Funding Hugo de Vries Laboratoty at Institude for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics - IBED The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research-NWO, with the Netherlands Foundation for the Advancement of Tropical Research-WOTRO ECOANDES Project Fondo Colombiano de Investigaciones Cientificas - COLCIENCIAS German Academic Exchange Service - DAAD
Study Area Description The PNN El Cocuy is located in the eastern cordillera of Colombia and it is one of the main paramo islands above the 3500m contourline in the Eastern Cordillera. At the time of the first studies, the botanical exploration of the paramos was far from complete and little was known about the modern vegetation of the paramos. A complete inventory of the paramo flora from a phytosociological perspective was needed. Also for the area little was known about the relationship between the different plant associations. Broader vegetation analysis between different geographic areas of the paramos of the country were also scarce. The study of Sturm and Rangel 1985 gives the first attempt to solve this issues.
Design Description The method used for paramo vegetation sampling was based on the Braun-Blanquet or Zürich-Montpellier schools which take the relevé as the main sampling unit. The Braun-Blanquet method is based on dominant species that are grouped in associations and then at a higher level in alliances. This is the standard methodology used in Europe, South Africa, United States, Japan and in the world in general. One of the final goals of the methodology mainly in Europe is to get to nature conservation, which is also the goal in the Colombian paramos.

The personnel involved in the project:

Antoine Cleef

Sampling Methods

The vegetation sampling was done by the relevé method following the Braun-Blanquet principles. The relevé is a list of the plants in a delimited plot of vegetation, with information on species cover and on substrate and other abiotic features in the plot to make as complete as possible description in terms of community composition. The community vegetation releve data were converted into species occurrence data.

Study Extent The studies were done in The National Natural Park El Cocuy in Colombia. The sampling sites included (but were not restricted to): Laguna Grande de los Verdes, Hacienda Ritacuba, El Playon, Planada de San Jose, Cusiri, Boqueron de Cusiri, Valle de Lagunillas, Valle Bocatoma, Paramo Concavo, Cocuy Kanguara, Paso Cemento del Padre, Boqueron de la Sierra, Valle de Cojines, Paso Castillo, Laguna Rincon, Laguna del Panuelo, Cerro Diamante, Campamento Quebrada Balnca, Campamento La Plaza, Campamento Bolos Sur. To Collect the data there were 6 field trips in the following years: 1972, 1973, 1977, 1978, 1989 and 2012.
Quality Control The original data was taken in field books, consisting either of a valid species name or a code of the specimen with collection of it for its later taxonomic identification (when identification on the field was not possible). A number of 150 releves were recorded and consisted of a species list with its cover, date, location, altitude, slope, etc. All of the Paramo del Cocuy data remained in paper until 2011, when the NLBIF financed digitizing the data into a software called TurboVeg version 2.98. Another 40 releves done in the year 2012, were digitized in TurboVeg as part of the NLBIF project. The data was digitized using the software TurboVeg, which is design for this type of vegetation information and then exported from community data into species occurrence data. The data stored in TurboVeg was checked to identify errors in the information or gaps needed to be filled. The two main fields identified to be checked/completed were the georeference data and the validation of the taxonomy of each species. Also the gaps in terms of the precision of the georeference data were filled.

Method step description:

  1. Releve data was stored in the software TurboVeg and then exported into species occurrence data. The species list used in TurboVeg was checked by an expert to confirm the valid taxonomy (taking into account taxonomy changes, synonyms, etc)(Guido van Reenen, paramo species list).This list was cross-checked with The Plant List (, for the period July 2011 until February 2013 (during this time frame the names where the accepted). Many of the Cocuy data was lacking a georeference, precision of the georeference data and specific habitat indication. In 2012 to improve the dataset quality, it was completed as detail and precise as possible using several online resources, consultation with experts and revision of the original data. The georeference data was completed using four sources: 1. A database created by Camilo Londono who scanned all the field books of Antoine Cleef. This database included the plant collections made by A. Cleef and some of them where done in the releves of this area. In this case the method and precision used to get the georeference data were unknown. 2. Google maps. When no georeference was known at all, a point in the center of the park was created and used as the georeference and the precision was calculated as the longest distance from this point to the park borders. 3. A detailed map from the PNN "El Cocuy" made by the NGO "Los Nevados" was used to get the georeference from the releves that were done in the sites that are identified in the map. This was done in cooperation with A. Cleef who knwe exactly the location of some releves. 4. Some of the georeferences were calculated with a GPS and then converted to decimal coordinates using the website Also to complete the geographic coverage and the study extend recent literature was used to get info about the paramo complex. The most recent document available for Colombia is the "Atlas de Paramos de Colombia" published in 2007 and available online at When the precision value of the georeference data was unknown, originally in the data set this was empty, but then when exporting the data into a DarwinCore archive, the precision was shown as 0, meaning it was an excat measurement. This was wrong, then a negative value was given in order to meet the DarwinCore Archive requirements when exporting the data. Most of the precision original values where in Km, this where then converted to meters in order to meet the DarwinCore Archive requirements when exporting the data.

Bibliographic Citations

  1. Cleef A. 1972, 1973, 1977, 2012. Field Data. Cleef. A.M. 1981. The vegetation of the paramos of the Colombian Cordillera Oriental. PhD Thesis. State University of Utrecht. 320pp. Also published as Dissertationes Botanicae, Baud 61, J. Cramer, Vadyz and "The Cuaternary of Colombia", Vol.9.
  2. Morales M., Otero J., Van der Hammen T., Torres A., Cadena C., Pedraza C., Rodríguez N., Franco C., Betancourth J.C., Olaya E., Posada E. y Cárdenas L. 2007. Atlas de páramos de Colombia. Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt. Bogotá, D. C. 208 p. ISBN 958-8151-91-5

Additional Metadata

Purpose Purpose 1: Data in TurboVeg Purpose 2: data converted to species occurrence. Data repatriation to Colombia to be used in actual research.
Alternative Identifiers 0b328835-ea95-4ec3-a0f4-dd2dba993f1f