PARAGUAS – How do the Páramos Store Water? The Role of Plants and People

2018 – 2021 

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

Value: £184,120

Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UK) 
Loughborough University (UK) 
Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew (UK) 
Nottingham University (UK) 
Imperial College London (UK) 
Bristol University (UK) 
University of Edinburgh (UK) 
Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt (Colombia) 
Research group ‘Biología para la conservación’, Universidad Pedagógica Tecnológica de Colombia (Colombia) 
Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Colombia) 


This interdisciplinary research project is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) under the Exploring & Understanding Colombian Bio Resources Programme (2018-2021). 

It aims to establish how plant and habitat diversity within the páramos contributes to water regulation;  to identify and quantify how crop and livestock farmers engage with the páramo through their daily farming practices and varied cultural engagements, and how they perceive their practices to affect and be affected by the water regulatory role; to develop capacity in Colombia for optimising ecosystem services in socially and environmentally sustainable ways; and to inform the debate among stakeholders by providing a better understanding of páramo functioning, thus enabling sustainable and conflict-free solutions.

We will use storytelling as a new knowledge system, collecting stories from stakeholders groups who represent the social fabric of the páramos, to acquire an understanding of páramos-human relationships and páramos-usage dilemmas, as well as feeding existing and developing scientific knowledge back into the local communities in the hope of promoting a wider adoption of water preservation methods.