Monkey Forest Tales:  Importance of Trees in our lives and the lives of the monkeys we study

In today’s post we are going to talk about some reflections about trees. On October 12th we celebrate the World Day of Trees and we usually don’t think too much about those being that give us shadow, help to maintain the oxygen in our atmosphere and give us sap, fruits and wood. Trees are also important in monkeys lives because they depend on them for food, places to rest during the day and sleep during night. Keep them safe from predators in the ground and hidden them from predators in the sky. Sometimes it seems they are just there, but we didn’t realize how important they are for our wellbeing and the wellbeing of other animals, including our livestock.

I probably didn’t pay much attention to them until I started working with monkeys and notice how much food they provide them. Because the first monkeys I ever studied, red howler monkeys, are also ones that spend most of their live on trees and try to avoid going to the ground as much as possible, I also started to notice how trees became moving routes for monkeys and other animals that depends on them, as well as places to hide, from me and predators…

Over the years I also develop some kind of continuous interest of knowing their identities and a bit of their own ecology. On my visits to forest from other countries I notice their differences and similarities with the ones we have in Colombia, especially the ones in the Amazon and Orinoquian region. And I pick some of my favorites…ceibas, jacarandas, avichures, cedros…

Tree gives can give us some sort of security feeling while working on the forest and for me some species became tokens that make me feel safe because I know which species they are and the type of forest in which they use to be found.

A recent report showed than around 45 % percent of plant species in Colombia, including several tree species are in danger to disappear and it seems to me that this report doesn’t get the attention it should have. For a country with a high diversity of plants such as Colombia, this should be more a concern to all of us, especially when the government is promoting tree planting as a strategy to take care of the environment and fight against climate change. However, the list of the species recommended by our environmental ministry for tree planting is of around 40 species and some of those are common species. Although is not my field of expertise, it seems important to me to mention and dedicate a post on how limited the focus is we give to trees in our lives and how sad is to see the lack of attention we pay to the beings that allow us to continue living in this planet.

So, if you have trees near to your house, in your local park or farm, let take a moment to learn about them and be grateful they are planted in those places for all us to enjoy and benefit from them.

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