Resource Details

The savannization of moist forests in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia

Literature: Journal Articles

Cavelier, J., et al. "The savannization of moist forests in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia." Journal of Biogeography 25.5 (1998): 901-912.

Contact Info

Corresponding author:


  • Departamento de Ciencias Biologicas, Universidad de los Andes, Apartado Aereo 4976, Bogota, Colombia
  • Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, P.O. Box 23360, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, 00931-3360, U.S.A.
  • Department of Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, 08269-3042, U.S.A


Species Info

  • Curatella americana
  • Cochlospermum vitifolium
  • Byrsonima crassifolia
  • Genipa americana
  • Miconia rubiginosa
  • Xylopia aromatica


  • The authors studied the savannas and forests of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta to determine if the savannas are natural or caused by anthropogenic factors, using climate data from the past and present, the location of vegetation, and land use history to test their hypothesis.
  • The climatic data suggests that the region should be covered in various types of forest, while the soil data confirms that the soil is similar to other savanna areas, but much poorer than soil in the forested areas of this region. 
  • While analyzing the historical data, the authors discovered a long history of agriculture in the area.  In some regions, forest was able to regenerate, but in many areas, the poor quality of the soil and the presence of fires prevent the regeneration of forests. 
  • The authors concluded that the savannas in this area were caused by anthropogenic factors, and regeneration of the forest would not be possible without human intervention. 

Geographical Region

  • Andean Region
  • This database is a work in progress, and we need your input to keep it up to date. Feel free to contact ELTI at to provide information on your own work as well as other projects and literature currently missing from the database.


    ELTI is a joint initiative of:
    Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute