Project LLAMA Reconnaissance trip, July 2007

Project LLAMA staff and collaborators carried out a reconnaissance trip to Chiapas and Guatemala in July 2007. The purpose was to establish sample sites and logistical arrangements for the 2008 LLAMA sampling in Chiapas, and to do some preliminary site selection in Guatemala. Participants were Bob Anderson, Jack Longino, Chuy Luna-Cozar, Michael Branstetter, and Ubaldo Caballero.

Jorge León of ECOSUR was our host and an avid participant. He was extremely generous with both his time and resources. He put all the ECOSUR resources at our disposal: vehicles, drivers, office space, sample extraction space, contact information, letters of introduction, permits, and myriad other logistical support.

On the Guatemala side, Jack Schuster was our host. We had less time in Guatemala, but Jack helped us make the most of it. He graciously put us up at his house and introduced us to the UVG campus. Enio Cano took over from there and accompanied us on our Guatemala travels.

In Chiapas, Benito Salvatierra, a member of the ECOSUR faculty, was our guide and leader for the Salto de Agua area. On a moment's notice he changed his schedule so that he could spend a weekend with us. He was indispensable; his sociological and demographic studies of the region gave us access to innumerable contacts and resources. He seemed to know everyone in northern Chiapas on a first name basis.

A selection of images from the trip is here.

Michael Branstetter set up network links to Google Earth for some of our images. Open up Google Earth, click on "Add" at the top, click on "network links", and paste in the following link:
Navigate to Chiapas and Guatemala and you should be able to see placemarks with linked images.

Detailed itinerary:
3 July: arrive Tuxtla Gutierrez, ECOSUR transport to San Cristobal.
4 July: ECOSUR transport San Cristobal to Tapachula, bus Tapachula to Guatemala City, met by Jack Schuster, stayed at Schuster house.
5 July: tour of UVG facilities, meeting with UVG personnel, get rental car in Guatemala City, explore Cerro Santiago (near Mataquescuintla, east of San José Pinula), on to Jalapa, El Progreso, late night arrival at hotel in Santa Cruz.
6 July: drive up steep mountain road to explore San Lorenzo, marble mine, Cerro de los Monos; return to hotel.
7 July: Santa Cruz hotel to Biotopo Mario Dary Rivera (Quetzal Reserve) at Purulhá, exploration of Biotopo, return to Guatemala City, met with ant students Jorge Polo and Laura Saenz, stayed at Schuster house.
8 July: early morning bus Guatemala City to Tapachula; ECOSUR transport Tapachula to San Cristobal, late night arrival.
9 July: full day at ECOSUR; Anderson, Branstetter, and Luna-Cozar explore Cerro Huitepec.
10 July: full day at ECOSUR; Anderson and Longino attend Jesús Luna-Cozar thesis committee meeting; give noon seminar.
11 July: exploration of Cerro Huitepec (day trip from ECOSUR).
12 July: day trip to Coapilla; ECOSUR transport from San Cristobal to Coapilla; exploration of potential field sites; meeting with Yariely Balam and member of the Coapilla Comisariado Ejidal.
13 July: trip to Salto de Agua area with Benito Salvatierra; ECOSUR transport; route Ocosingo, Ternó, Chilón, Yajolón, Petalcingo, Tila, El Limar, Cenovio Aguilar (new name for Trinidad), Salto de Agua; at El Limar met with Comisariado, tour of two forest fragments; late night arrival in Salto de Agua.
14 July: Salto de Agua to Paso Naranjo; exploration of forest fragment; meeting with David Gebhardt of Centro Ecotouristico Paso Naranjo; continue to roadside forest fragment just before Metzabok; on to Metzabok, meeting with Comisariado, boat trip across laguna to explore forest fragment; on to Nahá, meeting with Comisariado, exploration of forest fragment near community; late night return to San Cristobal.
15 July: begin exploration of La Sepultura, El Triunfo reserves; ECOSUR transport with Jorge León at the wheel; stop in Chiapa de Corzo; on to Sierra Morena, arrange lodging in Casa Ejidal, first exploration of forest.
16 July: full day at Sierra Morena; exploration of forest fragments; meeting with ejido assembly, Comisariado.
17 July: transport Sierra Morena to Finca Custepec; meet CONANP guard Ignacio Santeliz, load packhorse (Paloma) and hike to Campamento Quetzal; first exploration of surrounding forest.
18 July: full day exploration of trails and forest sites around Campamento Quetzal.
19 July: early departure and hike to Custepec; transport Custepec to San Cristobal.
20 July: day trip San Cristobal to Comitán area; ECOSUR transport, Jorge driving; exploration of potential lowland forest fragments.
21 July: day trip to Lagos de Montebello; ECOSUR transport; exploring potential forest fragments.
22 July: day trip to Playón de la Gloria; ECOSUR transport, Jorge driving; exploration of forest fragments; meeting with Comiseriado and other community members.
23 July: final meetings at ECOSUR.
24 July: ECOSUR transport to airport, departure.

Page author: John T. Longino
Last modified: 19 November 2007