Tourism entrepreneurs learned scientific details of the Flowering Desert

Tourism entrepreneurs learned scientific details of the Flowering Desert

The initiative allowed to deliver knowledge about the characteristics and ecology of this particular and colorful phenomenon of nature.

In order to promote tourist activity around the observation of the natural landscapes of the Coquimbo and Atacama Regions, as well as, seeking to bring scientific knowledge closer to the community, the Science and Tourism Program of the Center for Advanced Studies in Arid Zones, CEAZAdeveloped, in alliance with the SERCOTEC La Serena Business Center, SERNATUR Coquimbo Y Atacama and the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity, IEB; the cycle of talksThe flowering desert from a scientific perspective”.

In the instance, developed both in person and online, various people linked to tourism in the area gathered: tour operators, tour guides, travel agencies, restaurants and environmental educators, who learned, firsthand, the details and characteristics of the particular and attractive phenomenon of the Flowering Desert, which from time to time, attracts many national and foreign gazes.

The desert and the endemism of the flora

During the first talk, called “Biogeography and climate of the Atacama desert”, the CEAZA and UPWELL researcher, Dr. Antonio Maldonado, stressed that the flora of the Atacama and Coquimbo regions has a very high level of endemism, of the order of 50 % of endemic species.

“And why so much endemism? Due to the natural history in which the Andes Mountains develop, the hyper-aridity of the Atacama desert is generated, which generates these relatively new environments compared to what existed before, and all the lineages of flowers that existed there before hyper-aridization, in most cases, end up disappearing, but many of them leave one or two representatives at the genus or species level, and that are, in many cases, lineages or families of tropical origin that have managed to adapt to the desert condition,” he added.

Minimum rainfall and transmission of knowledge

Meanwhile, the second talk was given by the scientist from CEAZA, Dr. Alexandra Stoll, and was called “The Flowering Desert Phenomenon”, commenting, among other matters, on why and how the outbreak and flowering of various species in an arid place. “The Flowering Desert consists of a very massive and notorious appearance of a great diversity of flowers in large extensions of a very hostile and arid landscape,” she clarified.

And how is this phenomenon generated? When unusually high rainfall falls in this habitat and exceeds the normal average for this area of ​​the desert, the scientist continued, also commenting that the amount of falling water that is needed “is something that is always asked, but if we think about the area of Copiapó and Caldera, there would have to be a minimum of 10 to 15 mm accumulated during rainfall for a Flowering Desert to occur in those places.”DSC8148 282x300 1

Finally, the talk that closed this cycle was called “Ecology of the flora of the Atacama Desert” and was given by Dr. Andrea Loayza, a researcher at the University of La Serena and the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity (IEB), who explained those present, among other matters, the process of fertilization and pollination of some species of the Flowering Desert and the participation in it of some insects such as flies.

The researcher maintained that these types of initiatives are very important because the gap between scientific knowledge and citizenship is too great, “and especially in areas such as tourism that benefit from events or natural landscapes such as the Florid Desert; It is very important that it not only focus on scenic beauty, but also that knowledge can be transmitted so that people appreciate that what they see is something unique and that it has taken years of evolution. That is why it is important that people begin to understand in these spaces, in a simple way, their world around them, be it the sky, nature, rocks, everything”.

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Written by Editor TLN

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