Posted on 17 July 2014The Jardin Botanico Las Orquideas is a restored forest located in 6 ha of rainforest pasture. This area of the Amazon is particularly poor in soil fertility, and natural re-vegetation is often slow and dominated by few pioneer species. Traditional indigenous cultures used a shifting cultivation method involving clearing of 1-3 ha patches followed by 2-5 years of cultivation and then allowing natural re-vegetation. However, the last 50 years of development in the region is dominated by clearing, a few years of cultivation, followed by cattle grazing. Since 1980 at Jardin Botanico Las Orquideas the land has been restored from its eroded state into a secondary forest. Manual restoration activities have included using sawdust to smother pasture grass and fertilization with chicken manure, decomposed sawdust, sugar cane biomass waste, and kitchen compost, as well as plantings from seed, cutting, and seedling. For the past 10 years the garden has been more or less self sustaining, with some addition of fertilizer and weeding around occasional plants. The garden is known locally for expertise in forest restoration, and has been occasionally asked to conduct training sessions for local landowners. Much of our interpretative museum is focused on a photographic history / inventory of the faunal colonization of the garden, offering visitors a chance to observe the changes in the garden over the years.