Dry Forest Rain

The dry forest landscape is often dramatic, and dramatically different, when storms arrive.

It’s been raining in the dry forest of northwest Peru where the Andean bear program works in collaboration with the Spectacled (Andean) Bear Conservation Society. Some years it rains hardly at all, but every four to five years the area does get a significant amount of rain. This rainfall is nothing in comparison to what falls in the cloud forest, but right now the dry forest is not so dry, and the landscape is green for a change!

Vichayo fruits are eaten by a variety of wildlife in the dry forest, including Andean bears.

Even though it’s autumn in the dry forest, it feels like a Northern Hemisphere spring, with greening vegetation and plenty of flowering and fruiting plants. Both Samantha Young and I have previously written about the importance of sapote fruit for the bears, but although the sapote trees usually flower and bear fruit well before the rains arrive (if they arrive), other plants are now flowering and fruiting, more birds are singing, and overall, the life of the dry forest is taking advantage of the availability of water.

Russ Van Horn is a scientist in the Applied Animal Ecology Division of the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Read his previous post, Are Wild Areas a Luxury?

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