The San Lorenzo protected area


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The San Lorenzo protected area
Physical Description:
Weaver, Peter L
Bauer, Gerald P., 1952-
Jimenez, Belkys
International Institute of Tropical Forestry (Río Piedras, San Juan, P.R.)
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry ( San Juan, PR )
Publication Date:

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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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aleph - 27165255
oclc - 54780606
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Table of Contents
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    Acknowledgments and references
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    Appendix tables
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    Back Cover
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Full Text

Panama's Caribbean Treasure

Peter L. Weaver, Gerald P. Bauer,
and Belkys Jim6nez

Peter L. Weaver, International Institute of Tropical
Forestry, USDA Forest Service, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.

Gerald P. Bauer, USAID/USDA Forest Service, Panama
City, Panama.

Belkys Jim~nez, The Panamanian Centre for Research and
Social Action (CEASPA), Panama City, Panama.

Cover photo: Beginning as a water level battery in 1597.
Fort San Lorenzo was later constructed 25 in above sea
level on a plateau overlooking the Chagres River The interior
of the Fort contains parade grounds and several enclosed
cells designed for prisoners and storage.

June 2003

International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Jardin Botdnico Sur
1201 Calle Ceiba
San Juan, PR 00926-1119

The San Lorenzo Protected Area:

Panama's Caribbean Treasure

Peter L. Weaver, Gerald P. Bauer,
and Belkys Jimenez

The 12,000-ha San Lorenzo Protected Area (SLPA), located at the
northwestern entrance to the Panama Canal, is currently part of the
Mesoamerican corridor of protected areas extending from the Yucatan
of Mexico to Panama's border with Colombia. The SLPA includes Fort
San Lorenzo, where the Spanish initiated a water level battery in 1597,
and later built a fort to protect the gold route over the isthmus at the
mouth of the Chagres River. Fort Sherman, a U.S. military base, was
established in 1910 to protect the northern entrance to the Panama
Canal. Both forts fulfilled their military objectives; Fort Sherman has
also maintained control over the area's natural resources during the 20"h
century. This slide program highlights the SLPA as part of a major
crossroads between continents and oceans, and briefly describes pre-
Columbian activities, the Spanish conquest, the legacy of fortune
seekers and the Chagres River, French and U.S. efforts on the canal,
the role of immigrants in building Panama's infrastructure, the military
history of Forts San Lorenzo and Sherman, and early agricultural
activities. The SLPA's flora, fauna, hydrological network, marine
resources, current research, and proposed conservation, including both
protection and use, are also mentioned. A chronology of major events
relevant to the SLPA is included.

Keywords: Fauna, flora, Fort San Lorenzo, Fort Sherman, historical
chronology, Panama Canal, slide program.

Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2013


Topics Page

A b s tr a c t .................................................................................................................................. I

1-9 Introduction and Environm ental Setting ..................................................................... 1
10-19 Panam a: H istorical C rossroads ................................................................................. 6
20-24 Fort Sherman History: Military Occupation and Natural Resource Protection ....... 12
25-37 A G lim pse of the Flora ........................................................................................... 15
38-54 Among the Most Conspicuous Animals ................................................................ 22
55-58 The O cean and the Shoreline ................................................................................. 32
59-68 Forest Research: Learning More About Resources ............................................... 34
69-80 Forest Conservation: Protection and Use ............................................................... 39

A ck n ow led g m en ts ......................................................................................................... .. 46

R e fe re n c e s ........................................................................................................................... 4 6

Appendix Tables
Table 1 -Chronology of main events in the history of the San Lorenzo Protected Area ...... 50
Table 2-Various groups associated with the San Lorenzo Protected Area ........................ 54

Appendix Figures
Figure 1-Place names in the San Lorenzo Protected Area .................................................. 55
Figure 2-Geology of the San Lorenzo Protected Area ..................................................... 56
Figure 3-Physiography of the San Lorenzo Protected Area ............................................. 57
Figure 4-Roads and rivers of the San Lorenzo Protected Area ......................................... 58
Figure 5-Archaeological sites in the San Lorenzo Protected Area .................................. 59
Figure 6-Vegetation types of the San Lorenzo Protected Area ......................................... 60

Introduction and Environmental Setting

Slide 1. Overview of slide program
This program of 80 slides is designed to familiarize visitors
with the natural and cultural resources of the 12,000-ha San
Lorenzo Protected Area (SLPA), situated at the northwestern
entrance to the Panama Canal.
The visual tour highlights the following themes:
" Panama as the crossroads of the Americas
the legacies of Forts San Lorenzo and Sherman
* points of historic, cultural, and human interest
" fauna and flora in their natural habitat
" the importance of research in understanding the ecology
of the SLPA
" the role of collaborating agencies in furthering
conservation and environmental education in Panama.
(slide: Gerald P Bauer)

Slide 2. The Mesoamerican corridor
(Paseo Pantera)
The Mesoamerican corridor (previously, Paseo Pantera),
conceived in 1990, is an ambitious project designed to join
protected areas throughout Central America by ecological
corridors, or land bridges, so that the habitat necessary for
migration of the region's wildlife can be protected. In June,
1992, the convention for the conservation of biodiversity and
protection of priority wildlife areas in Central America was
created; it established a regional council on protected areas.
The protected areas range from the Yucatan peninsula in
Mexico to the Darien in Panama (Colombian border). The
goals of the international program are to promote regional
peace and maintain biological diversity through sustainable
economic activities such as ecotourism and agroforestry. All
Central American countries agreed to protect their national
heritage, adopt sustainable development programs, use
natural resources optimally, control pollution, and reestablish
ecological equilibrium. San Lorenzo is part of the Meso-
american corridor. Its location on the Caribbean side of the
isthmus, where 70 percent of Panama's remaining forests are
situated, represents a significant addition to the regional
system. The cougar or mountain lion (Felis concolor), is an
appropriate namesake for the corridor. The cougar originally
occupied virtually all temperate and tropical habitats
including the plains, forests, mountains, and swamps, from
northern Canada to Patagonia. The cougar is nomadic and
wanders as far as 500 km during its life. Unfortunately, it has
been severely reduced in numbers due to habitat destruction,
hunting, and trapping throughout its range.
(slide: Paseo Pantera Project)

The "San Lorenzo Protected Area"
" Panama a,, the Crossroads of the Americas
" Le-acies of Forts Sherman and San Lorenzo
" Historical. Cultural, Human interest
" Fauna & Flora & Scenic Beauty
" The Role of Research
" The Role of Collaborating Agencies

Slide 3. Place names in the SLPA

The SLPA, occupying about 12,000 ha, extends 24 km
at its longest dimension from Toro Point to the town of
Escobal, and nearly 11 km at its widest dimension from the
southeastern corner of Lim6n Bay to the beaches northeast
of the town of Pifia (fig. 1). The SLPA is bordered on the
north by the Caribbean Sea and on the east by Lim6n Bay,
the northernmost part of the Panama Canal, Gatfn Locks,
and Gatun Lake. The Pifia River, roughly parallel and west
of the Chagres River, bounds the northwestern part of the
SLPA. The western boundary of the SLPA is demarcated
arbitrarily by a line from near the Pifia River south for 8 km,
and then southeast for another 8 km. The major points
(headlands) along the coast, traveling counterclockwise from
the southwestern corner of Lim6n Bay, are: Lim6n, Pulpit,
Shelter, Toro, Naranjitos, Iglesias, and Fort San Lorenzo.
Named beaches include: Shimmey, south of Shelter Point;
Devil's, west of Fort Sherman; and Hidden or Tortuguilla,
north of Fort San Lorenzo. A large grassy field occupies the
area around Gatun Dam. The major colonial sites are Fort
San Lorenzo, remnants of the colonial north coast trail, and
the Gatfin trenches. Historical sites from the late 19' and
early to middle 20th centuries include the French Canal, the
Fort Sherman complex, numerous World War I batteries,
and the Gatin Locks and Dam. The major research site is
the canopy crane of the Smithsonian Institute situated in
closed forest.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Slide 4. Geology and physiography
Underlying the SLPA are sedimentary formations ranging in
age from the Middle Miocene to the Recent Epochs (fig. 2).
The uplands are composed of consolidated sedimentary
rocks, and the lowlands are underlain in most areas by
unconsolidated clays and silts. The bedrock formations
have been fractured and faulted so that adjacent blocks
are upraised and depressed relatively close to one another.
This geologic history has produced two major topographic
features, dissected upland blocks and flat alluvial lowlands.
The three upland blocks are: the Fort Sherman uplands
reaching I I I m; the low and rounded Mindi hills, with a
highpoint of 88 m; and the rugged Pifia-Escobal highlands,
reaching 198 rn in elevation (fig. 3). The three lowland areas
are: the Chagres-Mojinga-Gatn lowlands; the Lim6n Bay
lowlands: and the Caribbean shore lowlands. The principal
soil textures are clays and silt loams.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Slide 5. SLPA underground: coquina and cave sites
The Toro member, a coarse limestone of lower Pliocene
origin containing interbedded coquina (organic remains with
an accumulation of large shell fragments), occupies portions
of the SLPA. Where exposed, the coquina provide a look into
the past of the SLPA. In addition, the SLPA has numerous
small caves in the upland areas and at least one stretch of
a small, underground stream, located in the hills east of
Providencia on the Achiote Road (route SI 1). The caves
and subterranean streams have not been explored and pose
some unanswered questions regarding their total number,
location, size, and extent. Future research could provide
important information on these sites, their fauna, and their
tourist potential.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Slide 6. Climate: past and present
Panama's climate has changed over time. Within the past
10,000 years, global warming raised the sea-level by nearly
50 m, decreasing Panama's surface area by 100,000 km-,
mainly in the Gulfs of Panama and Chiriqui. Later, with
gradual cooling, the climate became more humid and forest
cover, including mangroves, expanded into areas that were
previously dominated by herbs and grasslands. This climatic
change, in conjunction with human activity, led to the loss of
Panama's megafauna (giant sloth and mastodon). Panama's
climate today is characterized by a wet season from May
to December and a dry season from January through April.
Nearly 100 years of rainfall records from Gat-in Locks
show an average of 3000 mm per year, with the dry season
receiving only 10 percent of the total. Despite greater
rainfall, the Caribbean coast of Panama receives an average
of nearly one-half hour more sunshine per day than the
Pacific coast. Temperature data from the nearby coastal town
of Coco Solo show a yearly average of 27 'C with monthly
means varying by less than 1 'C during the year. Relative
humidity averages 75 percent for the entire year, varying
from the low 70s during the dry season to the mid- to high-
70s during the wet season. Annual wind velocity averages 16
km per hour with dry season averages between 19 and 24 km
per hour, and wet season averages between 10 and 14 km per
hour. Panama is south of the Caribbean hurricane belt but
often experiences heavy, convectional downpours,
occasionally accompanied by high winds.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

>l1e 7. Waterfalls: permanent and ephemeral
The SLPA, with its average rainfall of 3000 mm annually,
has numerous permanent and intermittent streams and
waterfalls. About one-half of the annual rainfall is either
intercepted and evaporated directly back into the atmosphere
or absorbed by vegetation and later transpired. The
remainder escapes to the ocean by means of streams and
rivers that traverse the SLPA. Seasonal variation in rainfall
produces greater average flows during the wet season,
although heavy downpours at anytime will cause high
runoff. The steep slopes of the SLPA produce many
temporary waterfalls during rainstorms; the most notable,
shown in this slide, is conveniently located along the Gatin
Locks-Escobal Road (route S10) just above Gatfn Lake. The
highest waterfall in the area is located in the Fort Sherman
uplands, about a 4-hour hike along the well-marked trail
from the Gatin Dam.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Slide S. A variety of scenic views
The SLPA offers a variety of opportunities for
photographers. There are views of passing vessels and
the city of Col6n from the Lim6n Bay or Fort Sherman
shorelines; farther west, between Forts Sherman and San
Lorenzo, a series of sandy coves bordered by wooded ridges
provide glimpses of the Caribbean shoreline. Along the
Gatn Locks-Sherman Road (route S2), the principal
thoroughfare in the area, monkeys, sloths, and anteaters are
frequently seen-as are several species of birds, lizards, and
butterflies, including the iridescent blue morpho. Wetland
forests (mangrove, bloodwood (Pterocarpus sp.), and cativo
(Prioria copa i/era) swamps and typical flora (flowers,
mangrove ferns, large trees, and numerous Heliconia)
are readily visible from the car. At Fort Sherman, the
architecture of the residences, administration buildings,
and World War I batteries provides a glimpse into military
life during the early to middle 20 century. Hikers venturing
along gravel roads and trails into the interior will encounter
panoramas from rugged high points as well as occasional
views of waterfalls, small caves, and some of the more timid
fauna of the area. A short distance away are views of the
Panama ('anal, Gatin Locks, and innumerable ships from
all over the world. Gatcin Hill, one of several vantage points
in the SLPA, provides this panorama.
(slide: Charlotte Elton)

Slide 9. Hydrological system: Chagres River
The rivers or creeks that drain the SLPA flow into the
Caribbean Sea (e.g., the Chagres, Iglesias, Grande,
Naranjitos, and the Arenal Rivers) or into Lim6n Bay
(e.g., the Aguadulce and Petitpie Rivers, and Morito Creek),
as shown in figure 4. The Chagres separates the SLPA into
a northeastern one-third containing Fort Sherman, and a
southwestern two-thirds containing the Pifia Range. Paulino
Creek and the Indio and Negrita Rivers flow into the
Chagres from the south, and the Mojinga (draining the
Mojinga swamp), Congo, and Buena Vista Rivers enter from
the northeast. The Chagres, the river that has transported
more gold than all of the world's rivers combined, is 193 km
long, its watershed draining 3,262 km2, or 4.2 percent of
Panama. Also called the world's most valuable river, the
Chagres feeds the lakes and locks that operate the canal;
provides hydropower, drinking water, and game fishing;
and boasts a 500-year history of adventure. For years, the
Chagres River was the center of the debate on the proposed
sea-level canal. Before construction of the Gat-in Dam,
high rainfall in the Chagres headwaters often flooded the
lowlands south of Fort San Lorenzo, and, in the 1850s,
swept away a nearly completed railroad bridge.
(slide: Gerald P Bauer)

Panaua. Historical Crossroads

Slide 10. Indian heritage: the first inhabitants
The Isthmus of Panama served as a migratory route for
populations that settled South America, and has been
occupied by human groups for more than 12,000 years
(fig. 5). The first evidence of human activity dates fiom
the end of the Ice Age about 10,000 years ago. Finely made
projectile points for hunting large mammals were found
within the Chagres watershed in an area later flooded by
Lake Madden (Lake Alajuela). The Caribbean side of the
isthmus has been continuously occupied by small
populations that gradually developed innovations in
technology and subsistence living, such as ceramics, in
the 2 millennium B.C., followed by root crop, or manioc
agriculture, in the first millennium B.C. In the early 16
century, European explorers found permanent villages
and relatively dense human populations, among them the
ancestors of the Bugl&, Ngobe, and Kuna groups that now
inhabit Panama. The Cuevas, a group that occupied the
Darien, are now extinct. During the 17 and 18 centuries,
the eastern isthmus was reoccupied by the Ernberfi (shown
in this slide), and Wounaan, neighboring groups from the
Colombian Choc6. Their continued occupation of forested
areas has preserved artistic expressions such as carving and
weaving. The EmberAi, native to the upper Chagres, continue
to dress as they did when Colombus arrived. Their detailed
miniature sculptures carved from the "tagua" palm nut
(Phytelephas inacrocarl)a) are popular with tourists.
They are also known for animal carvings made from the
leguminous tree cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa), and baskets
woven from the chunga paln (Astrocavui standlevanum).
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Slide 11. Spanish heritage: San Lorenzo,
the quest for gold
In 1502, Columbus discovered the Chagres River, calling it
"Lagartos," in reference to alligators. He also established
Nombre de Dios, about 70 km to the northeast, visited
Portobelo, and before returning to Spain, abandoned his
caravel Gallega at the mouth of the Beldn River about 100
km to the west. In 1523, Charles V of Spain ordered Corts
to search for a passage across the isthmus, later directing
Panama's governor to explore south of the (,hagres River for
a canal route to the Pacific Ocean. In 1534, Philip II of
Spain foresaw the need for a fort at the mouth of the Chagres
Ri e r to protect Spain's gold route over the isthmus.
(onstruction of a water level battery began in 1597 and

cannons were fitted in 1626. The current fort was later built
25 m above sea-level on a cliff overlooking the mouth of
the Chagres River. The walls of Fort San Lorenzo on the
landward side were surrounded by a 10-m wide dry moat
and drawbridge. The fort contains an interior parade ground
and several enclosed cells designed for prisoners and the
storage of equipment and supplies. In 1748, the Spanish
abandoned the Chagres route over the isthmus, preferring
to travel around the tip of South America at Cape Horn.
The fort subseuently became a prison, a use that continued
into the late 19 century. In 1980, the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO), declared Fort San Lorenzo and its surrounding
5 ha a World Heritage site. Fort San Lorenzo and associated
historic settlements are considered prime sites
for uncovering new colonial finds.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Slide 12. Trenches on Gattin Hill: a mystery
About 1750, as part of efforts to fortify Panama, the Spanish
excavated six trenches totaling 700 n in length on Gati~n
Hill. Each of the trenches, the longest of which is 260 m,
measures about 1 m wide and 1.2 n deep. Fort Gattin, now
flooded by Gatfin Lake, was situated then at the confluence
of the Chagres and Gatlin Rivers, about 120 m vertically
and 1.6 km horizontally from the trenches. The purpose for
the extensive and well-constructed trenches is uncertain;
however, the construction is definitely military, with a firing
step and broad earth parapet held with stone and the strategic
location on Gatfin Hill providing a clear view of both the
Chagres River and Lim6n Bay. The trenches were possibly
intended for the defense of Fort Gatfn, should Fort San
Lorenzo fall to invaders. In 1719, French pirates sacked Fort
San Lorenzo and then traveled along the Mojinga swamp
shoreline to Lim6n Bay, a route that would have passed
below the trenches. The trenches might also have been built
as a last means of defense to which river inhabitants could
escape in case of attack. The trenches are closed at this time,
and will require access trails, restoration, interpretation,
and maintenance before public access is allowed.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Slide 13. British heritage: pirates plundering
the Caribbean
The Spanish discovery of gold in Peru led to the
development of the "Camino Real" in Panama-the route
by which all goods had to pass. Pirate attacks along the coast
of Panama began around 1560 and continued for nearly two
centuries. Among the most famous pirates were Sir Francis
Drake and Sir Henry Morgan. In 1571, Drake entered the
Chagres River and sacked Cruces, plundering barges en
route. In 1573, with the help of escaped slaves known as
Cimarrons, Drake robbed a mule train laden with treasure
bound for Nombre de Dios. After catching a fever, he died
and was buried at sea in 1595. His remains lie in the shallow
waters off Portobelo-an appropriate site for a Caribbean
buccaneer. Perhaps the most famous and ruthless character
in the Caribbean, however, was Welch-born Henry Morgan
(shown here as depicted in Esquemelin 1684), who was a
buccaneer, admiral, and finally, Lieutenant Governor of
Jamaica. Using Port Royal, Jamaica as a base, Morgan first
plundered Puerto Principe, Cuba, and Portobelo, Panama.
In 1670, he ordered the attack that left Fort San Lorenzo in
ruins; in 1671, after a forced march across the isthmus with
about 1,200 men, Morgan sacked and burned Panama City,
the greatest gold and silver mart in the world. Morgan later
robbed his own men of their loot, escaping to Jamaica. The
coastal waters off San Lorenzo contain shipwrecks and
eroded remnants of the fort and its cannons. The shipwrecks
provide an opportunity for underwater research and have
attracted proposals for exploration and salvage.
(slide: Gerald P Bauer)

Slide 14. Fortune-seekers heritage: gold rush
and train
The 1848 discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill caused a rush
from the U.S. eastern seaboard west to California via four
major routes: across the North American plains, up the San
Juan River and through Western Nicaragua, around Cape
Horn in South America, or over the Isthmus of Panama. In
the beginning, the trip over the isthmus included a canoe ride
that started at the mouth of the Chagres River on the Atlantic
coast, and was followed by an overland trek by mule or foot
south to Panama City on the Pacific coast. The gold rush and
the need for an efficient east-west mail route in the United
States were the stimuli behind the construction of the
Panama railroad (maps of the railroad route indicate that its
closest approach to the SLPA may have been in the vicinity
of today's Gatln Locks). The heavy demand for passage
across the isthmus- 27,000 people in 1853 alone-hastened
the completion of the world's first transcontinental railroad
in 1855. The cost in human lives from cholera, dysentery,
malaria, yellow fever, smallpox, and other maladies was
legendary. An often repeated, though grossly inflated,
estimate is that one person died for every railroad tie placed
along the 75-km track. The Panama railroad served the east-
west migration in the United States before the completion
of the U.S. Transcontinental Railroad in May 1869.
(slide: Gerald P Bauer)

Slide 15. French heritage: remnants of the
sea-level canal
Quiet backwaters are the surviving remnants of the proposed
sea-level canal initiated by the French in January 1880.
Promoted by the energetic Ferdinand de Lesseps, a key
player in the construction of the Suez Canal, the effort met
its demise in May 1889, after countless engineering failures,
health problems, and the financial crash of the French canal
company's worthless stock. After building docks, living
quarters, hospitals and offices were built, and excavating
50 million cubic meters of soil-an amount equivalent to
two-thirds of that removed for the Suez Canal-de Lesseps'
dream was conquered by the Panamanian jungle. Some
blamed the failure on a combination of factors including
lack of foresight, extravagance, corruption, bribery, and
the incapacity to cope with disease. Another relic from the
French era is the lighthouse at Toro Point. Built in 1893, it
once had a Fresnel lens capable of casting a beam of light
more than 30 km to the horizon.
(slide: Gerald P Bauer

Slide 16. Caribbean heritage: immigrants
help build canal
The rapid decline of the indigenous peoples after Spanish
colonization was not immediately matched by an increase
of Europeans or the Africans forcibly imported in the 16
century as slave labor. Later, between 1850 and 1950, an
estimated 200,000 West Indians emigrated to Panama in
search of employment and a better life in four major
movements: the first, from 1850 to 1855, for the
construction of the Panama railroad; the second, between
1880 and 1889, in response to the French attempt to build
the sea-level canal; the third, from 1904 to 1914, stimulated
by the construction of the Panama Canal; and the fourth and
last, from 1940 to 1942, due to the initiation of a third set of
locks, work that was never completed. Many West Indians
made Panama their home after the work was finished.
(slide: U.S. National Archives)

Slide 17. Plantation heritage: a forgotten past
Before World War 1, migratory farming was a major cause
of forest loss in the SLPA. Numerous small farms and some
larger ones operated near Toro Point in the watersheds of the
Arenal and Aguadulce Rivers, and along the Caribbean
coast, including the mouth of the Naranjitos River and the
coastal fringe between the Chagres and Pifia Rivers. Several
small population centers existed along the Chagres River
in 1912, the most famous being the 16 century town of
Chagres near Fort San Lorenzo. In 1916, Chagres, shown in
this slide, had 96 houses and 400 to 500 inhabitants. About 2
kn upstream from Chagres, at the bend in the river, was the
prosperous San Andreas Hacienda, which was surrounded by
agricultural lands, coconut plantations, and pasture. Other
farms were located near the Indio River. After World War 1,
the banana industry expanded in the Canal Zone, particularly
in the hills around Gatdn Lake. The largest plantings, about
600 ha, were just north of Escobal. Other large plantings
were situated in the headwaters of the Pifia River, along the
Gatn Locks-Escobal Road (route S 10), and in the Mindi
lills and lowlands to the south and east. By the start of
World War I1, most of the land leased for banana plantations
had been abandoned.
(slide: U.S. National Archives)

Slide 18. United States heritage: the Panama Canal
and Gatu'n Lake
Few passengers aboard the cargo ships and cruisers that rise
and fall 25 m while passing through the Panama Canal know
much about its past. The "manifest destiny" of the United
States, the dynamic character of Teddy Roosevelt, the French
attempt to salvage everything possible from their sea-level
canal fiasco, and Panama's independence from Colombia,
are all woven into the intriguing history of the Panama
Canal, the eighth wonder of the world! This history includes
the excavation of 200 million cubic meters of soil, the
building of three locks measuring 33 by 300 m, the
construction of the world's largest earth dam creating Gatin
Lake, and the opening of a pathway across the isthmus-
a dream first conceived by the Spanish 400 years earlier.
The canal, built at a cost of $387 million and 25,000 human
lives lost to disease, now provides safe passage to 14,000
ships per year.
(slide: Smithsonian (STRI) Files)

Slide 19. Gatun tug: first through Gatfin Locks
The tugboat "Gattin," shown entering the west chamber of
the Gatdn Locks on September 26, 1913, was the first vessel
to pass through the Gatfin Locks in the Panama Canal. The
first vessel to traverse the entire Canal was the Panama
Canal's steamship "Anc6n" on August 15, 1914. Soon after
its discovery by the Europeans, Panama was recognized
as an important crossroads linking two oceans and two
continents: Sim6n Bolivar even suggested that Panama
could serve as a world capital, should one ever be created.
The dream of constructing a canal across the isthmus,
initially conceived by the Spanish in colonial times, was
resurrected again in the 1880s. Access across the isthmus
as an Indian trail was followed by a Spanish cobble road
soon after discovery of the Pacific Ocean, a railroad in
1855, and finally the canal in 1914. Even before Panama's
independence from Spain, Panamanians had developed what
some intellectuals described as a "transit" personality.
(slide: U.S. National Archives)

Port S/ erman Historv." Military Occupation
and Natral Resource Protection

Slide 20. Fort Sherman: a short history
In 1909, the U.S. Secretary of War requested plans for the
defense of the Panama Canal. The plans included building
and maintaining Fort Sherman, named in honor of General
William Tecumseh Sherman, a renowned Civil War
commander. The first troops arrived in October 1911, when
construction began at Toro Point. From this time until shortly
after World War II, Fort Sherman remained heavily tbrtified
to protect the northwest entrance to the canal, including the
city of Colon and the Gatfin Locks. The canal's opening on
August 15, 1914, was only one week after the outbreak of
World War I: the defensive structures, training programs,
and protective measures implemented at Sherman reflected
immediate military concerns. As weapons and their delivery
systems advanced and international relations improved,
concerns about belligerent nations were refocused on
terrorism, natural disasters, and environmental protection. In
1977, treaties negotiated between Omar Torrijos and Jimmy
Carter returned 7,000 military and civilian buildings in the
Canal Zone to the Panamanian government, including the
barracks and residences at Fort Sherman. Today, Sherman
still has World War I batteries, an airstrip, barracks, officers'
quarters, docks, warehouses, recreational facilities, as well
as a theater, chapel, and gym. Recently, available space in
Fort Sherman was set aside as administrative offices for
agencies involved in the management of the SLPA.
(slide: Charlotte Elton)

Slide 21. Forest corridors: streams, roads, and trails
The SLPA has numerous natural and constructed corridors,
the latter being associated with the area's military past. The
Chagres River, navigable for 13 km through riparian forest
between Gatfin Dam and Fort San Lorenzo, is the largest
natural corridor. The lower stretches of other small rivers are
also navigable, but only for short distances in small boats.
Four major roads traverse parts of the SLPA: the 13 km
Gattin Locks-Sherman Road (route S2); the 18 km Gatcn
Locks-Escobal Road (route S 10); the 15 km Achiote Road
(route S 11); and, the 6 km Sherman-San Lorenzo Road
(route S8). The first three are paved and the last is gravel.
In addition, there are numerous secondary roads, jeep trails,
specialty roads (to batteries, docks, military facilities, and
research sites), and hiking trials that provide access to the
forests, scenic vistas, and waterfalls of the area. Most of the
SLPA shoreline, from Pifia to Sherman along the Caribbean,
and from Gatfin Dam to Escobal along the shore of Gatn
Lake, is accessible by boat. All of the corridors and
shorelines provide opportunities to view the fauna, flora,
and scenery of the SLPA.
(slide: CEASPA Files)

Slide 22. First World War batteries
Battery Stanley, originally defended with two 14-inch and
two 6-inch rifles and eight 12-inch mortars, was named after
Major General David S. Stanley, commander of the 4t" corps
during the Civil War. Battery Stanley was one of seven
batteries-Baird, Howard, Kilpatrick, MacKenzie, Mower,
Pratt, and Stanley-constructed between 1912 and 1924
along the Caribbean shoreline to protect the northern
entrance of the canal. Each battery was comprised of a
defensive wall, rotary cannons, and bunkers for the storage
of munitions and communications equipment. The use of
aircraft in World War II made these defensive structures
obsolete. The batteries originally operated in communication
with soldiers stationed at observation points, some located
at a considerable distance. Baird and Howard are still in
relatively good condition, having been used recently for
training. The remaining batteries are also in excellent
condition as relics of an earlier military era, but are in
need of restoration.
(slide: Gerald P Bauer)

t I 3 -Army jungle training
Starting in 1943, Fort Sherman was used as a training site
for tile Pacific Theater because of its rugged terrain, notably
the Pifia Range. In 1953, the U.S. Army designated Fort
Sherman as the Jungle Warfare Training Center, later called
the Jungle Operations Training Center. The first trainees
were from Panama, but training for outside units was
initiated in 1957. The Center normally ran 10 training cycles
of 3 weeks duration each year. Training during the Vietnam
War increased from 1,700 trainees in 1961 to 9,145 in 1967.
A normal training cycle involved individual soldier, small
unit, and company skills. Soldier skills included jungle
survival, camouflage, navigation, mines and booby traps,
and information about jungle plants. Small unit training
involved patrol, attack, and ambush tactics. Once the small
unit was proficient in jungle operations, field training moved
to company, and occasionally to battalion level exercises. In
the mid-1970s, Fort Sherman was designated as the training
area for the U.S. Army School of the Americas Jungle
Operations Training Center based at Fort Gulick in Panama.
Training programs involved instruction on battalion level
techniques of jungle survival and operations for units from
the continental United States.
(slide: U.S. Army)

Firing ranges: unexploded ordnance
Since World War 1, the Pifia range has been used by U.S.
and Panamanian forces for live fire training and munitions
testing. Because not all munitions explode on impact, the
Pifia range contains unexploded ordnance (UXO), which
over the past three-quarters of a century, have claimed
several lives. The U.S. Defense Department argues that it is
impossible to completely clear the range because of the steep
hills and dense jungle foliage. Both the presence of UXOs
and the legacy of chemical weapons testing (mustard gas,
phosgene, sarin nerve gas, and Agent Orange herbicide) are
safety concerns for the area. United States laws and policies
govern the closure of domestic military bases (the National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Comprehensive
Environmental Response Cleanup and Liability Act
(CERCLA)). U.S. Department of Defense policy also calls
for detailed investigations of environmental conditions for
domestic bases slated for closure. It has been suggested that,
legally and morally, these laws should apply to the closure of
bases in Panama. Presently, the Pifia range remains officially
unLder separate management from the SLPA, although the
forests are conLiguous. The range is off limits to visitors.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

A Glimpse of the Flora

Slide 25. Orchids (Oncidium sp.): part of
a diverse flora
The total flora of the SLPA is unknown, but a 1996 rapid
ecological assessment encountered more than 500 vascular
plants in the Fort Sherman area and 300 in the Pifia firing
range. In comparison, the well-studied Barro Colorado
Island (BCI)-only 8 percent of the size of the SLPA-
contains 1,370 vascular species. Undoubtedly, a more
detailed investigation of the flora of the SLPA will detect
more species, probably in excess of the total recorded for
BCI. During the SLPA survey, only 15 orchid species were
noted. Orchids, with at least 25,000 wild species worldwide,
are perennial herbs. The group contains about 750
Oncidiums (Oncidium sp., subtribe Oncidiiae) that flower
mainly in shades of yellow or brown. Oncidiums, growing
principally as epiphytes, range from southern Florida and
Mexico throughout tropical America to Argentina, with their
greatest diversification in Brazil and in the Andes from
Colombia to Peru. Thousands of orchid hybrids, many in the
genus Oncidiuni, have been registered: in fact, the number of
orchid hybrids far exceeds naturally occurring wild species.
(slide: Smithsonian (STRI) files)

Slide 26. Map of vegetation types
The SLPA has three ecological life zones: tropical moist
forest (54 percent) includes the west bank of Lim6n Bay,
Fort Sherman, and the west shore of Gatn Lake; tropical
wet forest (3 percent) occurs in an isolated patch along the
west central border; and tropical premontane wet forest
(43 percent), is found between the Caribbean Sea and the
northwest shores of Gatin Lake. Within Panama, these
same life zones represent about two-thirds of the country.
Several moisture gradients exist within the SLPA. One of
these is rainfall, ranging from northeast to south-central,
in accordance with the ecological life zones. The other
gradients are topographic, ranging from wet lowlands to
better drained uplands, and from moist lower slopes to drier
ridge tops. These gradients provide a diversity of habitats for
12 recognized vegetation types (fig. 6). Seasonal evergreen
forest, divided into tall, mixed, and short types, occupies
61 percent of the SLPA. Sernideciduous seasonal forest,
partitioned into mixed and short types, covers another 11
percent, with deciduous forest occupying only 2 percent.
Flooded vegetation types occupy 2 1 percent of the total area,
including three forests (cativo, palm, and mangrove) and
non-tree types (shrub and herb covered lands). Urban areas
and cultivated lands cover the remaining 5 percent of the
SLPA. Coral reefs and sea grass communities grow along
the Caribbean shore and in Lim6n Bay.
(slide: URBIO S.A.)

-7. Evergreen seasonal mixed forest
The SLPA has three types of evergreen seasonal forest
distinguished on the basis of tree height; e.g., tall, mixed,
and short. Of the three types, the mixed forest is the most
common in the SLPA. Mixed forest is characterized by a
greater diversity in terms of forest structure; e.g., variable
crown width and height, and species composition than is
found in the evergreen seasonal tall forest. The canopy in
mixed seasonal forest typically reaches 25 to 35 n and is
dominated by VerbA (Brositnum sp., family Moraceae),
Amargo amargo (Vatairca sp., family Leguminosae),
arcabi (Zanthox 'lum pr-ocer1tmn, family Rutaceae),
G(uLIicimo colorado (Lifehea seemnuii, family Tiliaceae),
Yellow plum (Spondias mombin, fainily Anacardiaceae),
West Indian elm (Guazitina itnjilblia, family Sterculiaceae),
and olivo (Sapiun cauatum, family Euphorbiaceae). Very
k'w trees in evergreen forests lose their leaves during the
January to April dry season when both flowering and fruiting
are prominent.
(slide: Peter L. Weaver)

Slide 28. Tabebuia guayacan: a burst of yellow
in a sea of green
Guayacan (Tabebuia guavacan, family Bignoniaceae), a
tree growing in tropical wet forests up to 900 m in elevation,
ranges from Mexico to Colombia. Common in mature
forests, where it reaches from 15 to 40 m tall and rarely
up to 2 m in diameter, guayacan occasionally occurs as an
emergent. The species typically loses its foliage during the
January to May dry season, when it produces a burst of
yellow flowers visible at considerable distances. Guayacan
with a heavy, hard and very durable wood-accounts for
the remaining snags visible 85 years after the flooding of
Gantn Lake. A valued commercial species with many of
the properties of lignum vitae (Guaiacun officinale, family
Zygophyllaceae), guayacan is used for durable outdoor
construction where great strength is required. Recently
reported within the SLPA, guayacan grows abundantly
on nearby Barro Colorado Island.
(slide: Smithsonian (STRI) files)

Slide 29. Cativo forest
Cativo (Prioria copaifera, family Leguminosae) forest,
common in the coastal fringe along the Gatfn Locks-
Sherman Road (route S2), and along the Chagres River,
covers 15 percent of the SLPA, and alone or in mixture with
other tree species, occupies 1.3 percent of Panama. Cativo
develops on poorly drained lowland soils subject to frequent,
temporary flooding after rainstorms. Cativo trees, reaching
30 m or more in height, and 0.5 to 1.2 m in diameter, are
regularly spaced from 6 to 15 m apart. Cativo regeneration
dominates the understory, but other species such as the black
palm (Astrocaryom standlevanun, family Arecaceae) and
wild pigeon plum (Ouratea hcens, family Ochnaceae) are
also present. The only other common species that attains
large size in the Cativo forest, however, is the fig (Ficus
glabrata, family Moraceae).
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

1(1 3 Mangrove woodland
Mangrove woodland, covering about 1 percent of the SLPA
and 5 percent of Panama, is comprised mainly of four tree
species: red, black, white and button mangrove. Red
mangroves (Rhizophora mangle, family Rhizophoraceae),
reaching 10 to 12 n or taller in height, are adapted to salt
and brackish waters along the shoreline, where their stilt
roots form an impenetrable thicket at high tide. Red
mangrove seeds germinate inside a conical fruit, forming
a long, heavy, narrow first root that will drop into the water
when it reaches about 30 cm in length. After floating for a
short time, the root becomes firmly attached in the substrate
and begins to grow into a new plant. The remaining species,
black mangrove (Avicennia germinans, family Verbenaceae),
white mangrove (Laguncularia racemose, family
Combretaceae), and button mangrove (Conocarpus erectus,
family Combretaceae), grow inland from the red mangroves,
the button mangrove at the landward edge of tidal mangrove
swamps. Black mangroves have numerous pencillike
structures (pneumatophores) rising vertically from their
roots that help in respiration. Mangrove woodlands provide
breeding grounds for fish and habitat for numerous bird
species. Because their woods are dense, mangroves have
been commonly harvested for fence posts, fuelwood, and
charcoal. Moreover, the bark of all mangroves is a source
of tannin used for tanning leather.
(slide: Peter L. Weaver)

Slide 31. Raphia Palm (Raphia taedigera)
and its distribution
The Raphia palm (Raphia taedigera, family Arecaeae),
covering 3 percent of the SLPA, grows in swamps, where
it forms clumps of trees of different sizes. The spacing
between clumps is close and approximately equidistant,
and little herbaceous vegetation, except for occasional ferns,
grasses, or vines, grows underneath. Raphia's growth habit
allows it to control a site for a long time. Perhaps the most
interesting aspect of Raphia, which has been present in the
neotropics for at least 2,800 years, is the tree's intriguing
history of long-range dispersal. R. taedigeru is the only one
of 20 species in the genus that grows in the neotropics; the
remainder are African. The hypothesis that best explains this
phenomenon is that the African palm (R. viniflra), which
is concentrated around the Congo River in central Africa,
rafted across the Atlantic Ocean as a fruit or with other
vegetation to become R. taedigera in the neotropics.
laphia's neotropical distribution occurs in five disjunct

populations ranging from Nicaragua to Brazil: the coastal
Caribbean between the Matagalpa River in Nicaragua and
Bocas del Toro in Panama; the Chagres River in Panama;
Colombia's Caribbean coast around the Atrato River; the
mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil; and the Osa Peninsula
on Costa Rica's Pacific shore. The first four sites may have
been connected in the past; dispersal to the last site could be
explained by wide ranging animals such as the peccaries
or tapirs that eat the fruits. Unfortunately, Panama's
western populations of Raphia are being replaced by
subsistence crops.
(slide: Peter L. Weaver)

Slide 32. Pterocarpus swamp
The range of bloodwood (Pterocarpus officinalis, family
Leguminosae) extends from the Gulf of Campache in
Mexico and from Jamaica and Hispaniola in the Caribbean
south to Ecuador and the mouth of the Amazon River in
Brazil. Confined mainly to temporarily flooded coastal
wetlands and stream banks, the tree reaches 40 m tall and
60 to 90 cm in diameter. Bloodwood is easily identified by
the long, sinuous buttresses that extend from the trunk, very
light wood, dark red latex that exudes from cuts, and round,
winged seedpods. Formerly, the latex of bloodwood was
exported under the name "dragon's blood" from Colombia
to Spain, where it was used as a hemostatic and astringent.
Bloodwood has been used to float fishnets in open water and
as a honey plant for bees in coastal Guyana. It has also been
planted for shade in southern Florida and Cuba. Bloodwood,
like the Raphia palm, has a disjunct distribution, with
populations occurring in both Africa and the neotropics.
This attractive bloodwood stand is located in the wetlands
bordering the road at Sherman.
(slide: Peter L. Weaver)

SI(de 33. Vines and lianas
Nearly one-half of the trees greater than 15 cm in diameter
on nearby Barro Colorado Island have lianas growing in
their crowns. Among the families with the greatest number
of climbing plants are the milkweed (Asclepidaceae),
morning glory (Convolvulaceae), sunflower (Compositae).
aroid (Araceae), bignonia (Bignoniaceae), and legume
(Leguminosae). The monkey's ladder vine (Bauhinia
gutialwnsis) of the legume family is one of the most easily
recognized because of its distinct form resembling the steps
of a ladder. Ranging from southern Mexico to Bolivia,
southern Brazil, and Trinidad, monkey's ladder is common
in the tropical moist forests of the canal area, including the
SLPA. The vine, climbing high into the forest canopy, loses
its foliage during the dry season, when it produces white
flowers. The vine's flat leguminous fruits contain disc-
shaped seeds that are dispersed by an elastic valve. On
opening, the seeds are cast a considerable distance below
the trees supporting them. Lianas compete with trees for
light, water and nutrients, and may contribute to tree
mortality. At the same time, they are important in the diets
of many tropical animals.
(slide: Peter L. Weaver)

Slide 4. Mangrove fern (Acrosticuin aureum)
The 1,2210 species of fern that exist today are descended
from some of the earth's oldest plants, with fossils dating
back 400 million years. The mangrove fern (Acirosticum
uireum, family Pteridaceae) occurs throughout the tropics,
mainly in coastal strand vegetation, where it grows in
brackish or salt water, on alluvial banks of estuaries, along
ditches, and occasionally in fresh water above sea-level. Its
pantropical distribution is due to airborne spores and
vegetative propagation after long-range dispersal of rhizome
fragments by ocean currents or flooded river waters. The
fronds of the mangrove fern are very large, up to 2 m tall.
The petioles have light-colored pneumatophores near the
base, which, like those of mangroves, serve to regulate
gas exchange. The mangrove fern does not have the salt
secreting glands of the mangroves, and instead accumulates
salts in its tissues, rendering them incombustible. Central
American Indians, having discovered this quality, used the
mangrove fern to thatch the areas around hearths within
their huts.
(slide: Peter L. Weaver)

Slide 35. Heliconias

Heliconias (family Heliconiaceae), large upright herbs with
red or yellow inflorescent bracts and yellow petals, were
previously classed with the bananas (family Musaceae) and
birds-of-paradise (family Strelitziaceae), but are now placed
in their own family. Heliconias are native to the American
tropics from central Mexico to Brazil and Bolivia, and to
some of the South Pacific Islands. Heliconias grow most
luxuriantly at elevations below 500 m but attain their
greatest diversity and endemism in mid-elevation rain and
cloud forest habitats. About 250 species occur naturally,
but with hybrids and varieties, total heliconia species may
approach 500. Nectar-feeding hummingbirds, attracted by
the bright colors, are the only pollinators of heliconias in the
American tropics, whereas bats play that role in the South
Pacific Islands. The roadside Heliconia platvstachvs shown
here grows naturally from Costa Rica to Colombia, and is
also widely cultivated. Heliconias, because of their brilliant
and diverse colors and large size, are favorites in gardens
throughout the tropics.
(slide: Peter L. Weaver)

Slide 36. Fungi: much that happens goes unnoticed
Although the species of fungi linked to the Irish potato
famine and the medicine penicillin are well known, most
of the remaining 1.5 million fungi species live unnoticed.
Fallen trees normally host a myriad of organisms, from
bacteria and fungi to insects that break down the wood
and recycle its nutrients. Most of the fungi go unobserved
because their fruiting is ephemeral or their fruiting bodies
emerge within logs. Wood boring insects such as beetles,
termites, and some species of ants hasten the invasion of
fungi when they tunnel into fallen logs. With greater time
on the ground, decomposing logs change in size and shape,
and increase their water holding capacity. Bark is lost, twigs
and small branches decompose, wood texture becomes soft
and powdery, wood color changes, and invading roots from
surrounding vegetation enter the sapwood and finally, the
heartwood. Decomposition creates special habitats for a
variety of microorganisms whose populations continually
change as decay progresses. During periods of drought, the
tree-soil interface provides a relatively cool, moist habitat for
fauna, and a substrate for microbial activity. Ultimately, the
decaying trees release large accumulations of nutrients to the
soil and provide habitat for the growth and development of
other species.
(slide: Smithsonian (STRI) files)

lidc 37. Medicinal plants: forest drugstore
Knowledge of the medicinal and hallucinatory qualities of
forest vegetation and how to prepare and administer plant
extracts-a tradition passed down for centuries-has
contributed to the aura of mysticism surrounding the
shaman, or medicine man, in many Indian tribes. Recent
surveys highlight the continuing importance of medicinal
plants in traditional folk medicine. A review carried out in
21 Latin American countries showed that 270 plant species
in 82 families were highly regarded for their medicinal
properties. More than 400 of the 10,000 plant species in
Panama are used in folkloric medicine. Moreover, in the
provinces of Panama and Col6n alone, more than 80 species
are employed, among them achiote (Bixa orellana, family
Bixaceae), an attractive shrub reaching 10 m in height.
Achiote seeds, long used by the Indians as a source of red
dye for body decoration, are also prepared in a tea that is
purportedly used as a stimulant and diuretic, and to alleviate
stomachaches, hemorrhaging, and cardiac illnesses. Achiote
is also used as an aphrodisiac, laxative, and insecticide.
Lastly, it has apparently loaned its name to a community
bordering the SLPA.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Among the Most Conspicuous Animals

Slide 38. Ocelot (Felispardalis)
The SLPA has at least 81 species of mammals, or 35 percent
of all the mammals found in Panama. The ocelot (Felis
paidalis) ranges from southern Texas, throughout Central
and South America, to northern Argentina. Of Central
America's spotted cats (the others are the jaguar, margay,
and oncilla), the ocelot is the most commonly sighted in the
wild. A solitary hunter by day or night, the ocelot is entirely
carnivorous, feeding mainly on rodents, but also on birds,
lizards, snakes, and other small mammals and vertebrates.
Ocelots hunt on the ground, rarely climbing trees except to
cross a stream or to rest on a branch. Formerly hunted for its
pelt, the ocelot is listed on Appendix II of the Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Slide 39. Howler monkeys (Alouattapalliata)
Howler monkeys, noted for their noisy exchanges along
territorial boundaries, can be heard for great distances in
the forest. Mantled howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata) are
arboreal and diurnal, usually roaming in groups of 10 to 18
individuals. They range from forest lowlands to 1,500 m in
elevation, including Central America from eastern Mexico
to Panama, and western South America from Colombia to
Peru. Their home ranges are small and they can successfully
survive in fragmented forest. Most frequently seen in parks
and around archaeological ruins, they survive in mature and
old secondary evergreen forests, often along streams. The
mantled howler is threatened by deforestation and hunting,
and is listed on Appendix I of CITES.
(slide: Gerald P Bauer)

Slide 40. Northern Tamandua Anteater
(Tamandua mexicana)
The northern Tamandua anteater (Tamandua niexicana)
ranges from southeastern Mexico throughout Central
America to South America west of the Andes, from northern
Venezuela to northern Peru. These anteaters forage alone on
the ground or in trees, and are active during the day or night.
They eat ants, termites or bees, ripping apart insect nests.
This species is most common along streams and in trees
covered with vines and epiphytes-habitats where their prey
are concentrated. When inactive, they rest in burrows,
hollow trees, or other natural shelters. The northern
Tamandua anteater is threatened by habitat destruction
throughout much of its range. This particular animal nearly
wandered onto the shoes of the photographer.
(slide: Gerald P Bauer)

Slide 41. Baird's Tapir (Tapirus bairdii)
Baird's tapir (Tahpirus hairdii), ranging from southeastern
Mexico to western Ecuador, is the largest native terrestrial
mammal in Central America. Tapirs, weighing from 150 to
300 kg, have long and flexible upper lips they use to pluck
leaves beyond the reach of their tongue and teeth. They are
usually solitary, timid and docile, and are active during both
day and night, spending up to 90 percent of their waking
hours browsing. Much of the diet of the tapir is vegetarian,
consisting of aquatic plants, roots, stems, leaves, fruits,
seeds, and flowers; occasionally, small aquatic animals, are
eaten. Juveniles accompany their mothers for about I year
after birth. Before it was hunted with guns, the tapir was
common in a wide variety of habitats, including mangrove
swamps, rain and deciduous forests, and montane forests up
to 3,500 m in elevation. Tapirs often spend part of the day in
mud wallows or in shaded thickets, and avoid people even in
areas where hunting is controlled. Habitat destruction and
hunting have reduced tapir populations throughout their
range, including Barro Colorado Island and probably the
SLPA, where they have not been sighted recently. Despite
their scarcity, canoeing the Chagres at night might result in
an encounter with a tapir. Listed on Appendix I of CITES,
the species is considered endangered and today is largely
confined to protected areas.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

1-c 42. Great Fruit-eating Bat (Artibeus literatus)
Bats, with about 1,000 species worldwide, or nearly one-
quarter of all known mammals, evolved about 50 million
years ago. Latin America alone has nine families and
270 species of bats. Bats forage at night using sonar
(echolocation) to find food. During the day they roost in
caves, hollow trees, or in tangles of vines, on tree trunks, on
exposed roots along watercourses, or on the undersurface of
large leaves such as bananas. Many have specialized feeding
habits. About 70 percent of bats are insectivores, capturing
insects in the air or on leaf surfaces, branches, tree trunks,
and the soil. Most of the remainder are frugivores or
nectivores, feeding on fruits, nectar, and pollen. A few are
carnivores, eating frogs, lizards, small rodents, birds, and
other bats. The fishing bat (Noctilio le)orinus) that inhabits
the SLPA uses its long hind claws to catch small fish in
forest streams. Bats help control insects, pollinate plants,
and disperse seeds, playing an important role in the

regeneration of forests after disturbance. The forests,
streamsides, numerous small caves, and buildings of the
SLPA support 41 known bat species, or one-half of the area's
known mammals. The great fruit-eating bat (Artibeus
literatus) shown in the slide is among the most common
species in neo-tropical rain forests, ranging from Mexico to
Bolivia and northern Argentina, and to the Lesser Antilles.
This species feeds on the fruits-especially figs-flowers,
and the pollen of several canopy trees.
(slide: Keith Christenson)

Slide 43. Green Iguana (Iguana iguana)
Panama has 228 species of reptiles (10 percent endemic)
including 127 snakes, 81 lizards and iguanas, 15 marine
and freshwater turtles, three worm lizards, a crocodile,
and a caiman. Of these, the SLPA contains 35 species,
or 15 percent of Panama's total. The green iguana (Iguana
iguana), predominantly a vegetarian, may grow to 1.8 m
long. It lives in tropical and subtropical America at
elevations less than 1000 m, favoring wooded areas near
water. Early in the dry season, the green iguana lays about
30 eggs that take nearly 3 months to hatch; the young
emerge at the beginning of the wet season. Humans are the
iguana's major enemies, mainly through habitat destruction,
hunting, and egg stealing. Other predators include large
felines, birds of prey, snakes, alligators, and crocodiles.
The iguana, long favored in the diets of the native peoples
and rural populations of Panama, is also a popular item
in the pet trade. The dramatic decline of Panama's
iguana populations has been counteracted by legislation,
educational programs, reforestation, and by breeding the
reptiles in captivity for later release.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

S44+ Caiman (Caiman crocodiles)
On his fourth expedition, Columbus discovered the Chagres
River and named it "Lagartos" (alligators) for the animals he
saw on its banks. Of the 23 known species of crocodilians,
the Caribbean coast of Panama has two, a caiman (Caiman
cm'codi/us) and a crocodile (0-o'odllus acittus). The
common caiman (with up to five recognized races) shown
here has the largest range, extending from southern Mexico
to northern Argentina. Rarely attaining 3 m in length,
caimnans usually occupy the quiet waters of marshes, lakes,
or slow-flowing rivers, but are highly adaptable. They can
also survive in brackish waters, and during droughts will
typically congregate in shrinking pools, occasionally
burrowing into the mud at the bottom to await wet season
rains (aestivation). Mating occurs at the end of the dry
season and eggs are laid in nests of grass, leaves, twigs, and
soil as water levels begin to rise. Caiman nests are typically
located in communes, where predation may account for the
loss of 80 percent of the nests. Common predators on young
and juveniles include herons, egrets, anhingas, and raccoons;
adult caiman are the prey of humans. Young caiman feed
mainly on aquatic insects; adults, on fish and amphibians.
(slide: Gerald P Bauer)

lidL 45+ Large neotropical constrictor
(Boa constrictor)
The boa constrictor (Boa constrictor, family Boidiae), a
large and non-venomous snake, ranges from central Mexico
to Argentina, and is also found in the Lesser Antilles. The
boa inhabits wet and dry forests, thorn scrub, and cultivated
fields, from sea-level to 1,000 m in elevation. Growing to
5 m in length, the boa constrictor ranks fifth in size among
the world's 2,500 species of snakes, ceding first place in
the Americas to the anaconda (Eunectes mtrinats, family
Boidiae). Boas, being heavy bodied, have been assumed
to have a "sit and wait" approach to hunting. Recent
observations, however, show that they actively search for
good places to sit and wait, including near the burrows of
ground dwelling prey and in flowering trees for birds. Boas
hunt day and night on the ground and in trees, grabbing and
impaling prey with their sharp, recurred teeth. The boa feeds
on a variety of lizards, birds, and mammals, including wild
iguanas, tanagers, ant birds, bats, spiny rats, opossums,
rabbits, juvenile porcupines, young deer, coatis, ocelots,
mongoose, as well as domestic poultry and dogs. Boas give
birth to live young in litters from 20 to 60. They are long-
lived, one reported to have survived for 38 years in captivity.

As with other primitive snakes, they have a pelvis
and vestigial hind limbs, the latter apparently playing
a role during courtship.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Slide 46. Poison dart frog (Dendrobates auratus)
Of Panama's 170 species of amphibians (16 percent
endemic), including 141 toads and frogs, 21 salamanders,
and 8 cecilias, the SLPA has at least 36 species, or 21
percent of the country's total. The poison dart frog
(Dendrobates auratus, family Dendrobatidae), is among
the most conspicuous and interesting. The frog ranges from
southern Nicaragua to Colombia at elevations between sea-
level and 800 m. Diurnal in habit, it hunts on the forest floor
and in trees, and is very active on mornings after rainfalls.
The frog's bright coloration, black with glossy green spots,
warns potential predators of its poisonous skin secretions.
The frog is probably best known as a source of skin poison
used by Amerindians when hunting. Other frog species die
after contact with poison dart frogs in collection bags. The
poison dart frog lays its eggs away from water; after the
tadpoles are hatched, the parent frog carries them on its
back to streams or pools.
(slide: Smithsonian (STRI) files)

Slide 47. Chestnut-mandibled toucan
(Ramphastos swainsonil)
Panama has about 930 species of birds, of which 75
percent are residents, 14 percent regular migrants, 6
percent occasional visitors, and 1 percent pelagic, with
the remainder being considered as unconfirmed sightings.
Nearly one-half of this total has been recorded within the
SLPA. The toucans (Ramphastidae), with 42 species in
continental tropical America, are among the most easily
recognized birds because of their enlarged, multicolored
bills. They nest in tree hollows and are gregarious, often
converging to feed in fruiting trees. Their diet also includes
large insects, small reptiles and amphibians, nestling birds,
and the eggs of other bird species. Among the most colorful
species, the chestnut-mandibled toucan (Ramphastos
swainsonii) ranges from Honduras to western Ecuador, and
is common in Panama's Caribbean lowlands below 900 m in
elevation. Habitat destruction and hunting have contributed
to its decline in recent years.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

S ii 48. Slaty-tailed trogon (Trogon massena)
frogons (Trogonidae), with their greatest diversity and
abundance in Central and South America, are among the
most colorful of tropical birds. Ranging from southern
Mexico to western Ecuador, the slaty-tailed trogon (Dogon
mnassena) is fairly common in Panama's lowland forests and
secondary woodlands, including mangroves. The species is
usually found singly or in pairs, and occasionally in small
groups. Trogons often perch motionless for considerable
periods and are difficult to sight in the canopy. They eat both
fruits (Coussarea, Hiamelia, Guatteria, and small pahns)
and insects (katydids, caterpillars), often procuring the latter
in a spectacular fashion. They occasionally follow monkey
groups, catching insects flushed by them. Trogons nest in
tree cavities or in holes dug out of arboreal wasp or termite
nests, laying three white to bluish-white eggs.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Harpy eagle (Harpia harpjya)
Hawks, eagles, and kites (Accipitridae), diurnal birds of prey
well represented in Panama, are characterized by a hooked
bill and gripping feet. The harpy eagle (Haipia hari/a),
with legs 5 cm thick and a wingspan of more than 2 m, is
considered the most powerful bird of prey in the world.
Measuring almost 1 m from head crest to tail when mature,
the harpy remains inconspicuous in flight, it rarely soars,
and then only low and briefly. Harpies usually stay in or
below the canopy, where they hunt from a perch in rapid,
agile flight. Among the favored prey are macaws and large
iguanas and small to medium-sized mammals, particularly
sloths and monkeys. Harpies, never very common in
undisturbed forested areas in the Caribbean lowlands and
lower slopes, are rarely sighted in the vicinity of the canal
due to habitat destruction and hunting. A single bird requires
about 30 square kilometers to search for prey in the wild.
Harpies, not particularly shy in the presence of humans, are
opportunistically shot despite their legal protection. The
species has been recently sighted in the SLPA, but nesting
within the area has not been confirmed. The continued
succession of secondary forests in the SLPA-and their
maintenance as part of a large, unfragmented unit-
should one lay assure the habitat required for Panama's
national bird.
(slide: Gerald R Bauer)

Slide 50. Freshwater fish: Peacock bass
(Cichla ocellaris)
A survey of freshwater fish showed that at least 42 species
live in some part of the Chagres River watershed, including
Barro Colorado Island and Gattin Lake, and in the Fort
Sherman streams that drain directly into the Caribbean Sea,
mainly near Toro Point. Most fishes of eastern and central
Panama are of South American origin, such as the characins
(family Characidae) and the suckermouthed armored catfish
(family Loricaridae), both large families. The migration of
these families of fish to the Chagres appears to have been
from the western Atlantic slope of Colombia to the Pacific
slope of eastern and central Panama by means of the Atrato,
Tuira, Bayano, and other rivers, and then to neighboring
coastal streams of the Chagres. Freshwater fish were
introduced into the Chagres watershed (including Gatfin
Lake) on four occasions, as follows: guppies (Lebistes
reticulatus) from Barbados for mosquito control about 1910;
large mouth bass (Micropterus sa/moides), catfish (species
not certain), and sunfish (Lepornis sp.) in 1917; large mouth
bass, bluegills (Lepoinis miacrorochirus), and crappies
(Pornoxis sp.) for sport fishing in 1925; and peacock bass
(Cichla ocellaris) from the Amazon in 1967 for sport
fishing. Only the peacock bass survived. The peacock bass,
a major fish predator, reduced or eliminated eight native
species and had secondary impacts on zooplankton and bird
species. Recently, tilapia (Tilapia sp.) have been introduced
to local communities through artificial fish ponds and
floating cages suspended in Gatfin Lake; inevitably, some
have escaped and reproduced successfully.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

lidI 51. Morpho butterfly (Morphopeleides)
The morpho butterfly (Morpho peleides, family
Morphoidae), ranging from Mexico to Colombia, is common
in Panama's Caribbean lowland forests. Adults, found
descending along forest streams, trails, and roads, are
spectacular in flight as their iridescent blue wings glitter in
the forest. Morphos deposit their eggs on the underside of
host plant leaves (Lonchocarpus sp., Machaerium sp., and
Pterocarpus sp., family Leguminosae); about 4 months are
required for them to develop through the last larval stage.
Adult morphos eat the fallen fruits of several forest species
that are also grown for food or timber on subsistence farms.
These plants include Brosinum sp. (Moraceae), Manilkara
spp. (Sapotaceae), Guazuma ulmifblia (Sterculiaceae),
Mangifera indica and Spondias spp. (Anacardiaceae),
Musa sp. (Musaceae), and Theobroina cacao (Sterculiaceae).
Morphos also feed on mud and carrion. Despite their

Morpho butterfly (Morpho peleides) cont.
adeptness at avoiding butterfly nets, predators such as
jacamars (Galbulidae) and large flycatchers (Tyrannidae)
feed on the butterfly. Morphos are among the favorite
butterflies for sale in mounted displays.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

SIIle 52. Spiders (Nephila sp.) and their webs
Spiders, with some 34,000 species grouped into about 100
families, are voracious predators. The nephila (Nephila sp.,
family Aranidae) is an orb-web spider found in forest
clearings and secondary growth in lowland and mid-
elevation habitats. The spider builds a broad web with a hub
near the top and a tangle of threads called barrier webs that
function as a trap for airborne insects such as flies, beetles,
and moths. The spider, active both day and night, occupies
the hub and monitors the web for vibrations produced when
insects fly into it. The spider immobilizes prey by biting and
injecting venom along with digestive enzymes. Nephila then
cuts the prey out of the web and carries it back to the hub to
feed. Bulkier prey, after being bitten, are wrapped in silk and
transported back to the hub. There is an enormous disparity
in size between the nephila sexes, the males weighing from
100 to 1,000 times less than the females, depending on
species and habitat. The males are so small that they are
below the size of the female's normal prey and therefore
are not eaten. Nephila silk, strong and durable, was formerly
used for gun sights. The silk of a related species of Nephila
is currently used by New Guinea natives for fishing lures.
(slide: Smithsonian (STRI) files)

Slide 53. Leaf cutter ants (Atta sp.):
miniature gardeners
Of the 10,000 species of ants in the world, one group known
as the leaf cutters (the attines, 12 genera and about 190
species) cultivates fungus gardens. Some leaf-cutter (Atta
sp., family Formicidae) colonies contain as many as one
million workers tending a thousand fungus gardens.
Activities on the soil surface include constructing trails,
harvesting leaves, and searching for new resources. Medium-
sized ants, protected by larger soldier ants, march in columns
to surrounding trees and shrubs to cut off parts of leaves
and carry them back to the underground nests. Distances
between the nests and vegetative resources vary, often
ranging firom 50 to 150 m. Ants generally travel at the rate

of I to 2 m per minute, with the ants carrying leaves moving
somewhat slower. Inside the nest, small ants chew the leaf
mass, mixing it with their saliva to produce a substrate for
growing the fungus the ants consume. These miniature
gardeners also care for the ant young during the larval and
egg stages. When virgin females (potential queens of new
nests) emerge from the home nest on their nuptial flights,
they carry a small portion of the fungus with them to grow
a new fungus garden. While intriguing to forest visitors,
leaf cutters cause serious damage to agricultural crops and
forest plantations.
(slide: Smithsonian (STRI) files)

Slide 54. Army ants (Eciton sp.):
a formidable predator
Army ants, with about 150 species in the New World alone,
range from the southern United States to northern Argentina.
They occur in large colonies, forage and bivouac in groups,
and are carnivorous, feeding on arthropods (spiders, roaches,
scorpions), earthworms, occasionally small lizards, and
social insects-especially other ants. Each colony has one
queen and numerous workers, including large soldiers.
Eciton burchelli (family Formicidae) is the best known
species of army ants and has the largest and most spectacular
raiding groups. Swarming with as many as 200,000 ants
in a front sometimes 20 m wide, they can recruit up to
100 ants from a raiding column to a food source within one
minute. Army ants search in a zigzag fashion, mainly by
microtopography, advancing at an average rate of about
14 m per hour. Arthropods are driven in advance of the
swarms, which are often accompanied by ant birds preying
on crickets, katydids, and other insects. E. burchelli colonies
maintain 35-day alternating cycles. For 20 days, they remain
at the same site, raiding about two-thirds of the time. Then,
for 15 days, they raid daily and migrate to a new bivouac
site almost every night. Emigrations to new sites, mostly
a distance of 50 to 70 m, begin in the early afternoon and
continue for several hours. The queen stays in the old
bivouac until about 90 percent of the colony has departed
for the new site, which is usually situated in a hollow tree
or under a log.
(slide: Smithsonian (STRI) files)

Thc Occua and the Shoreline

Shde 55, Cove beaches and headlands
Much of the SLPA shoreline from Fort Sherman west
towards Pifia is covered by coastal lowland, a stretch of land
characterized by forested headlands interspersed with cove
beaches. Wave-cut cliffs characterize the shoreline where
upland ridges reach the sea- seaward of the ridges, a rock
bench merges into a fringing reef. Sandy beaches occur
where upland valleys reach the sea. The landward edges of
the valleys, in turn, merge into the floodplains of streams.
The largest area of coastal lowland on the SLPA extends for
1.5 km southwest from the mouth of the Chagres River. At
one time, many of these beaches probably served as turtle
nesting sites. Today, these secluded areas offer the visitor
precious moments of respite from a busy world. One such
area, Hidden Beach (Tortuguilla Beach), is situated about
500 m directly north of Fort San Lorenzo, hidden from
the fishermen shown in the slide by a forested ridge.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Slide 5. Sea turtles and nesting beaches
Sea turtles, with a fossil record of at least 200 million years,
are represented today by only eight species in two genera.
Fishermen M the coastal town of Pifia, at the western end
of the SLPA, remember the "old days" when four turtle
species-loggerhead (Caretta caretta), green (Chelonia
nwdas), hawksbill (Eretmochelvs inbiicata), and
leatherback (DerinochelVs coriacea)-were occasionally
seen in the vicinity. Leatherbacks are still common farther
west in Bocas del Toro. Sea turtles, adapted to life in the
ocean, are tied to the land only for reproduction. Their high
commercial value as a source for meat, eggs, oil, leather,
ornaments and jewelry, cultural and ceremonial uses,
and other products, has made them the target of sailors,
fishermen, and coastal dwellers for centuries. Sailors of
Columbus' era welcomed fresh turtle meat as a pleasant
change from a regular diet of hardtack and salt pork.
Today, all four of the above species are listed as threatened
or endangered. Recent hazards include pollution, beach
invasion for housing or recreational uses, sand extraction,
poaching, and entanglement in fishing nets. Although all
sea turtles provide meat and eggs, commercial values
vary among species. The green sea turtle is pursued for its
meat; the hawksbill, for its shiny tortoise-shell; and, the
Icatherback, for its oil. The loggerhead is the least valuable
of those once sighted near Pifia.
(slide: Smithsonian (STRI) files)

Slide 57. Corals and marine fish species
Reef flats border most of the Caribbean shore. The longest
segment stretches for nearly 2.5 km along the coastline of
the SLPA, from Devil's Beach to Naranjitos Point, rising
nearly 20 m and forming Brujas Island. The barrier reefs,
paralleling the Caribbean coast, have developed under
conditions of strong winds, heavy rainfalls, and high sedi-
mentation. Nearly 50 ha of coral platforms are situated along
the SLPA coast in four areas-Fort Sherman, Isla Brujas,
Punta Naranjitos, and Punta Iglesia. Reefs growing along
the shore of the SLPA are characterized by a high diversity
of algae and contain about one-half of the coral species
reported for the Caribbean shore of Panama. The absence of
some species of corals may be due to the generally shallow
nature of the reefs as well as a century of environmental
impact caused by sedimentation and occasional oil spills.
Relatively diverse coral populations, however, have survived
at Punta Naranjitos and San Lorenzo. Sergeant majors
(Abudefdqfsaxatilis, family Pomacentridae), shown here
with prominent black stripes, are an aggressive, fast-
swimming member of the reef community. Pantropical
in distribution, immature sergeant majors are frequently
found in tide pools seeking refuge among rocks.
(slide: Smithsonian (STRI) files)

Slide 58. Seagrass communities: Thalassia testudum
and other species
Seagrass communities along the SLPA coast-two in Lim6n
Bay and one at Punta Brujas-contain food sources for
many of the organisms that inhabit nearby mangroves and
coral reefs. Moreover, they help collect sediment and form
a protective habitat for innumerable marine invertebrates.
Seagrass beds, comprised of Thalassia testudinum (family
Hydrocharitaceae), Halodule wrightii (family Posidoniaceae),
and Syringodiumfiliforme (Posidoniaceae) in shallow
waters, and Halophila decipiens (Hydrocharitaceae) in
deeper waters with less light, have been shown to be
sensitive to urban development, deforestation, and coastal
dredging-all of which increase coastal sedimentation. In
addition to providing habitat for at least 35 identified species
of young and adult fish, seagrass is grazed by the West
Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), previously hunted
for its meat, oil, and hide, and now considered threatened.
Manatees, recorded in the Chagres River before the
construction of the Panama Canal, were reintroduced into
the river in 1964 and subsequently escaped into Gatin Lake
and the canal. Viable wild populations still survive west of
the SLPA in Bocas del Toro.
(slide: Smithsonian (STRI) files)

Forest Research: Learning
More About Resources

Slide 59. Stuck in the mud
The difficulties of studying tropical flora and fauna are
probably best demonstrated by this four-wheel drive vehicle
stuck in the mud. Researchers throughout the tropics could
commiserate for hours about the time spent reaching isolated
sites, particularly during heavy wet season downpours. The
muddy stretches along this road to the Smithsonian's crane
site have been aggravated by unauthorized dump trucks
mining beach sand. Unfortunately, the decision to develop
a road network to remote areas is not easily resolved. It is
often a matter of opting for costly road improvements that
facilitate work, but also increase the threat of squatting,
poaching, and illegal use, despite surveillance. Alternatively,
unimproved roads cost more in research time, effort, and
vehicle repairs, but discourage illicit use. In their attempt
to address issues of resource use and maintenance, SLPA
managers have stopped sand mining; moreover, they have
also installed an entrance gate and improved the road to
the crane site for authorized users.
(slide: Peter L. Weaver)

Slide 60. STRI crane: a look at the forest canopy
For decades, lack of access to treetops has limited research
in tropical forests. Recent attempts at canopy access have
included using climbing gear and hot air balloons that
drop a fabric mesh anchored by air-filled pontoons. The
Smithsonian crane was installed in September 1997. It
ascends 55 m vertically and extends 54 m laterally through
the canopy, allowing scientists to reach nearly 0.92 ha of
forest at virtually any height. One goal of the crane research
program is to determine the biological details of the forest
system; another is to use findings at the level of leaf, tree,
stand, and landscape to develop models of regional gas
exchange. Among the topics being investigated are: insect
biodiversity; the vertical gradient of herbivores; changes in
herbivory from excluding birds that normally prey on leaf-
eating insects, the community structure of epiphytes; plant-
pollinator interactions; flowering, fruiting and shoot growth
of canopy species; and plant photosynthetic responses to
microclimate and carbon dioxide concentrations. The crane
gondola provides a view of the surrounding forest and the
Chagres River as it enters the Caribbean Sea. This elevated
perch has been described by some visitors as "the perfect
set-up," and "the best seat in the house." Another

Smithsonian crane located in the Parque Natural
Metropolitano (Metropolitan Natural Park) near Panama
City allows for comparisons between wet and dry forests.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Slide 61. Looking down to ground from crane
Soaring through the treetops, where an estimated 90 percent
of all tropical organisms live, sounds like a long forgotten
childhood dream. Monitoring the same canopy area
throughout the year without damaging the vegetation is the
forest ecologist's dream. The crane, "a forest canopy access
system," reaches 55 m above the ground, however, and
the seemingly tenuous protection afforded by a guardrail
mounted on a thin, steel and wire mesh gondola does little
to assure those queasy of heights that Newton's laws are
temporarily held in abeyance! Some look up, some pray,
and others, undoubtedly, fleetingly recall the gruesome fate
of many of Edgar Allen Poe's principal characters. Safety,
however, is always the main consideration. The crane, one of
12 worldwide, is carefully inspected monthly, and scientists
do not venture into the canopy during inclement weather.
(slide: Gerald P Bauer)

Slide 62. Epiphytes: canopy gardens
Epiphytes grow like elevated gardens on tree trunks and
branches. Lichens, fungi, bryophytes (liverworts and
mosses), ferns, orchids, bromeliads, vines, and the seedlings
of many common forest species germinate and grow as
epiphytes for a period of time. Strangler figs (Ficus spp.),
and other tree species with a similar growth habit, often
regenerate in the forest canopy. As epiphytes die and
decompose, a soil-like substrate forms, clinging to tree
trunks and branches. As the substrate accumulates, the
numbers of epiphytes that can be supported in the elevated
gardens increase. Epiphytes provide habitat and food sources
for soil microorganisms, innumerable insects, small reptiles
and amphibians, birds, and mammals. They also play an
important role in the movement of water and the chemistry
of water within the forest. Epiphytes intercept rainfall and
filter cloud moisture, redistributing it within and below the
tree canopy. Bromeliad tanks serve as aquatic reservoirs for
considerable periods, providing breeding sites for many
species, and refugia during dry periods for others. As
elsewhere in the rain forest, some canopy epiphytes provide
direct benefits as medicines or as ornamentals, and sources
of food and flavoring. An example of the last is vanillin
(Vanilla planifolia, family Orchidaceae).
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Slide 63. Beetles: their numbers and activity
The crane allows entomologists to make long-term
observations of canopy insects and to evaluate earlier
estimates of global insect diversity. Truly astonishing
numbers of species have been found in the canopy, including
95 previously undescribed species of beetles in the flowers
of a single tree! Most insects appear to be host specific,
feeding on a single plant species. These observations suggest
that 30 million, the highest estimate for the number of insect
species inhabiting tropical forests, may be correct. Another
area of interest is the amount of vegetation consumed
(herbivory) by insects, vertebrates, and pathogens. Studies
have shown that two species of moth larva (Lepidoptera)
and one species of beetle destroy more than 99 percent of
the flower buds of the wild cashew (Ancatrdimlm excelslni,
family Anacardiaceae). Herbivory, however, is lower in the
canopy than in the understory. Future research will try to
determine the reasons for this, which may be related to
plant compounds used for defense, predation on canopy
herbivores, canopy climate (hum idity or temperature),
or some combination of all three.
(slide: Smithsonian (STRI) files)

Slide 64. Long-term monitoring plot
All trees at least 1 cm in diameter on 4.96 ha of forest
surrounding the crane were permanently tagged in
January 1996. Tree diameters and heights were measured
to determine the current structure of the forest. Future
remeasurement of all trees will provide insights into forest
dynamics, including tree growth and development, ingrowth
and mortality rates, tree age and size relationships, and
changes in species composition due to normal tree mortality
or major climatic events such as wind storms or severe
drought. Regular forest monitoring also provides the basis
for specialized ecological studies in physiology, phenology,
autecology, phytosociology, succession, and forest modeling.
Similar data collected in other tropical forests allow
comparisons of structure and dynamics throughout
the world.
(slide: Gerald P Bauer)

Slide 65. Large trees-some not as old
as they appear
Certain species in the Bombacaeae family, for example,
the cuipo (Cavanillesia platanif/lia), cedro espino
(Bombacapsis quinatum ), and ceiba ( Ceiba pen tanha),
stand out as exceptionally large trees in the SLPA. These
trees germinate and start growing in forest openings,
sending up unbranched trunks that spread when they reach
the canopy. The wood of the large trees is not dense;
consequently, the trees grow very rapidly in height and
diameter. Since most tropical tree species do not produce
annual rings, a ring count does not help determine their age.
One simple technique to estimate tree age is to tag several
trees in different diameter classes and monitor their growth
for a period of time. Once the average diameter growth
within a size class is determined, the time required for
the average tree to grow through that size class is known.
Subsequently, a crude estimate of the tree's age can be made
by summing the number of years required for the average
tree to grow through all of the size classes being measured.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Slide 66. Mist nets sample bird populations
Knowledge of migrant and resident bird species may be
gained through a variety of sampling techniques including
counts from stationary positions, transects, tape recordings
and playbacks of songs, Christmas bird counts, and mist
netting. The last is particularly useful for density estimates
and is often done by capture and release after color banding
for field identification. Mist netting provides data on species
diversity and habitat partitioning. It also allows biologists to
monitor population changes (bird dispersal and survival over
extended periods), and provides detailed information (sex,
age, weight, fat condition, and reproductive condition)
related to the health and condition of individuals and
populations. The mourning warbler (Oporonis philadelphia)
shown in the slide breeds in North America and winters
in the tropics from Nicaragua through Ecuador and
Venezuela-including the SLPA-preferring woodlands and
clearings with dense scrub, particularly near water. Panama
receives well over 100 migrant bird species annually from
North and South America, mostly from the former. The
recent decline of migratory birds in northern breeding
areas has been linked to deforestation in the tropics. With
continued deforestation, protected areas such as the SLPA
assume even greater importance as wintering habitat for
migratory birds.
(slide: Smithsonian (STRI) files)

Slide 67. Green urania moth (Uraniafulgens)
T1he diurnal urania moth (Uraniaidgens, family Uraniidae),

with its iridescent green bars and white tails, resembles a
swallowtail butterfly. Four urania species are recognized;
however, differences among them are slight, and all may
actually be races of a single species. The moth has an
intriguing life history. It undergoes population explosions
and massive migrations, more or less in synchrony,
throughout the neotropical latitudes from Mexico to Bolivia.
Urania moths breed in May; population movements (some
migrate, others do not) begin in July and August, and are
generally south and/or east in Central America, continuing
unabated for up to 5 months. The moths are strong fliers,
averaging 20 km per hour, and barely influenced by winds,
can cross up to 250 km of open water. Records from 1850 to
the mid-1950s show average migrations at 8-year intervals,
and at 4 years since then. Migrations are followed by return
flights, mainly local and for less than 2 weeks, starting in
March of the next year. The moths lay eggs in clutches;
when touched, the initial larval stages flip off leaves on a
silken thread, a presumed defense against ants. The central
question is "Why do urania migrate?" Current research
suggests that after three generations of attack by urania
larvae, the moth's primary food source, a canopy liana
(Oinphalea sp., family Euphorbiaceae), may increase the
defensive compounds in the leaves to a level that would
be toxic to developing larva of the next generation. Urania
females can detect plants of lesser toxicity, and migrate
to find them.
(slide: Neal Smith)

Slide 68. Barro Colorado Island and the
Barro Colorado Island (BCI) in Gatn Lake is less than
6 km from the SLPA. BCI, gradually formed after the
dam on the Chagres River was built in 1910, has been a
biological reserve since 1923. The island, with an irregular
shoreline of 48 kin, covers 1565 ha and reaches an elevation
of 145 m above the surrounding lake, and 170 m above sea-
level. The island's first laboratory was established in 1924 by
visiting scientists. In 1940, BCI was dedicated as a Natural
Monument; in 1946, it was placed under the administration
of the Smithsonian Institution. Scientists at the Smithsonian
Tropical Research Institute (STRI) currently maintain a
permanent monitoring plot at the crane site in the SLPA.

Moreover, their legacy of studies on the flora and fauna
of BCI is relevant to SLPA's management. More than 500
vertebrates species have been identified on the island: 60
bats, 384 birds, 30 frogs, 22 lizards, and 40 snakes. As
part of the Canal Treaty of 1977, the relationship of STRI
with Panama was relegated to a status similar to those of
international missions. In 1986, a public nature trail was
designed on BCI to promote education and appreciation for
tropical ecosystems. Today, BCI receives about 2,300 day
visitors annually. BC! has residences, dorms, dining and
conference halls, and modern laboratories where local
scientists and guests continue their research in what is
possibly the most studied tropical forest in the world.
(slide: Gerald P Bauer)

Forest Conservation: Protection and Use

Slide 69. Conservation issues: poachers
Numerous environmental issues are of concern for the
management of the SLPA. These include past military
activities, the impacts of canal operations on surrounding
waters, the threat of inappropriate development, poaching,
the unauthorized use or exploitation of natural resources
(wildlife, forest, sand, and corals) and lax law enforcement.
Land use on the SLPA is continually monitored. The main
interests in 2001 centered around:
the development of a management plan
" community programs with the residents of Achiote,
Escobal, and Pifia
* educational programs, including interpretative trails of
varying length highlighting the historical and cultural
past of the SLPA
* basic and applied research
" an interpretation center, resource library, and map file.
(slide: Smithsonian (STRI) files)

Congo culture: celebration of freedom
During the Congo festivities, which last from late January
until Ash Wednesday, descendents of the African slaves
brought to Panama during the colonial period commemorate
their freedom by playing the roles of escaped slaves.
Scattered among small towns such as Achiote, Escobal,
and Pifia along the Caribbean coast around Colon, group
members meet in their own private retreats (el palenque) to
sing, dance, prepare special meals, and enact a folk drama.
Their dance celebrates the flight and settlement of escaped
slaves (Cimarrones) led by Juan de Dioso. During the late
1500s, the Cimarrones successfully waged guerilla war
against the Spaniards, forcing them to negotiate a peace
treaty. During carnival season, mini-kingdoms of Congos
exist alongside the civil community. The Congo queen Maria
de Merced and her surrogate husband Juan temporarily
reign over the kingdom during the fiesta, sharing the
responsibilities for the visits between Congo groups and
maintaining discipline during the festivities. In the past,
Congo celebrants who moved from villages to crowded
urban dwellings found that their celebrations were not
tolerated. Indeed, one of the typical carnival pranks, which
involves a group of men in outlandish costumes capturing
strangers for ransom after entering Congo territory, could
be easily interpreted as criminal activity.
(Slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Slide 71. Local communities and schools:
more education
The 1990 population of Colon province, including the
four "corregimientos" (Spanish territorial units, under
the jurisdiction of a mayor appointed by the king) that
encompass the SLPA, averaged from 10 to 30 persons per
square kilometer. The nearest communities in 2000 had
2,378 persons- Achiote with 365, Escobal with 1,653, and
Pii'a with 360. The past and current negative impacts of
these communities on the SLPA are the results of clandestine
timber cutting, scattered fuelwood harvest, illegal hunting,
unauthorized extraction of plant materials, removal of beach
sand for construction, and subsistence farming, mainly
coffee production under shade. Several programs have
been initiated with the local communities to reduce these
impacts. Fundacion Natura is working through CEASPA
to reforest with native species. CEASPA also provides
educational programs for community leaders and school
children emphasizing environmental awareness and
community organization.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Slide 72. Training of guards
To alleviate pressures on the environmental resources of the
SLPA, it is necessary to generate an appreciation for their
value and an interest in their conservation. One attractive
means to achieve this is to employ people from nearby
communities, some of whom have knowledge of trails,
cave sites, bird species, folklore, and the traditional use
of medicinal plants. Local residents employed as guards
already help protect the SLPA and provide information to
visitors. Guard training includes the use of a compass, plant
and animal identification, and familiarization with the
special problem of firing ranges, where unknown quantities
of live ammunition (unexploded ordnance, or UXOs) remain
scattered on the ground. Guards receive additional training
in first aid. map reading, patrolling techniques, and
interaction with visitors.
(slide: CEASPA files)

Slide 73. Coffee shade: the agroforestry tradeoff
Growing coffee under a forest canopy, a type of agroforestry,
is widespread in the tropics. Coffee shade agroforestry
modifies the microclimate favorably, protects the soil,
recycles nutrients, and provides habitat for arthropods,
amphibians, bats, birds, and mammals. Shade coffee matures
over a longer period than coffee grown in the sun, and
generally results in a greater proportion of export quality
beans than open grown coffee. Subsistence crops such as
bananas and tubers, often grown in association, allow local
farmers a measure of profit. Coffee shade plantations
support bird species that favor areas with an overstory,
especially migrants, whose habitat requirements are likely
to be less stringent than resident species. Fundacion Natura,
working through CEASPA, recently initiated a program
with the local communities in the buffer zone of the SLPA
to improve the productivity of their coffee crops.
(slide: Gerald P Bauer)

L I174,, .Water sports: boating and fishing
Panama is well known for its fresh and saltwater fishing.
Sites in and around the SLPA include Gatcin Lake, the
Chagres River below the dam, Limon Bay, and the
Caribbean Sea. Boat ramps are available on Gatfin Lake, at
Fort Sherman, and at the mouth of the Chagres. Gatin Lake,
where peacock bass (Cichla ocellaris), snook (Ceuitropoinus
undecimalis), tarpon (Megalops atlanticius), and crevalle
jack (Caranx hippos) are available throughout the year, is
the favorite freshwater fishing destination near the SLPA.
The lake occupies 423 km2 and measures 37 km between
the Gat/m Locks and the Culebra Cut. Peacock bass is the
most common species, snook, tarpon, and crevalle jack are
relatively rare. Peacock bass and snook respond to live bait
or lures. Tarpon, usually caught with live bait, are prized for
food and sport. Sometimes reaching 50 kg in weight, they
are known to swarm Caribbean rivers to consume figs falling
from riverbank trees. Snook, tarpon, and crevalle jack are
also caught in the Chagres River along with snapper
(Lutjanus spp.). In the Chagres, snook are available in
December and January, and tarpon in February and March;
snapper and crevalle jack are caught throughout the year.
Snapper and crevalle jack are also caught in Lim6n Bay
along with barracuda (Sphvraena barracuda), and are
available the entire year but in limited quantities. The
Caribbean coast has barracuda, snapper, snook, and crevalle
jack, along with kingfish (Scombeivrnorus cavalla). Snook
are available in December and January, and kingfish from
January through March. The remaining species are caught
throughout the year.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Slid 7 Birdwatching, hiking, and sightseeing
The Panama Audubon Society counted 357 bird species
in the SLPA during one 24-hour period, a record among
Society counts in the Western Hemisphere. Five convenient
birdwatching areas are recommended. Along the Gatfin
Locks-Sherman Road (route S2) paralleling the western
shore of Lim6n Bay, 27 birds species were listed, among
them pigeons and doves, parrots, trogons, toucans,
flycatchers, honeycreepers, caciques, tanagers, and possibly
mangrove warblers. Along the Fort Sherman-San Lorenzo
Road (route S8) paralleling the Caribbean shoreline, 41
species were noted, including hawks, pigeons and doves,
parrots, hummingbirds, toucans, woodpeckers, antbirds,

jays, wrens, honeycreepers, tanagers, and others. At Fort San
Lorenzo, a promontory above the Chagres River, 13 species
were recorded, among them terns, parakeets, flycatchers,
elaenia, martins, swallows, and robins. On the Achiote Road
(route S 11) inside the Atlantic lowland forest, at least 65
species were observed, including tinamous, vultures, hawks,
pigeons and doves, parrots, hummingbirds, trogons, toucans,
woodpeckers, flycatchers, wrens, euphonias, tanagers, and
saltators. Ten of these forest bird species are found nowhere
else in the canal area. At the mouth of the Chagres River,
24 species were seen, among them pelicans, frigate birds,
herons, terns, doves, martins, swallows, tanagers, seedeaters,
and grassquits. All of these areas, readily accessible by car,
are located within a few minutes of each other. Opportunities
also exist for hiking and sightseeing in each area.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Slide 76 Biodiversity
The 12,000-ha SLPA, occupying only 0.4 percent of
Panama, contains three life zones, 12 vegetation types,
and at least 500 species of higher plants, about 5 percent
of the total recorded for the country. Nearly 600 species
of vertebrates have been identified, or nearly 40 percent of
the country's total, as follows: 36 amphibians (21 percent),
35 reptiles (15 percent), 435 birds (47 percent), and 81
mammals (35 percent). The number of bird species, the most
studied group, approaches one-half of Panama's total. The
high diversity in the SLPA can partly be attributed to its
variable topography, different vegetation types, and the
proximity of large undisturbed tracts of forest to the west.
Another critical factor is the relatively large size of the SLPA
and limited human disturbance. Major development or
widespread clearing for agriculture on the periphery of the
SLPA would effectively make it a small island like Barro
Colorado (BCI). Such fragmentation could cause incidences
of local species extinction, notably for groups that require
extensive habitat or that have small populations. The SLPA is
a critical part of the interoceanic corridor across the isthmus,
and of the Caribbean coastal corridor. Future studies will
undoubtedly add new species to the SLPA list and also help
determine the impact of humans on its fauna.
(slide: Gerald P Bauer)

SLPA Biodiversity
Vegetation 9
3 life 70nCS
8 forest types
500+ species
Vertebrates -
36 amphibians (2113
3 5 repti I cs ( I 517c)
435 bir& (47 ,c)
81 mammak (351 ;-)

S ide 77. Ecotourist's paradise
In addition to the high faunal and floral biodiversity,
numerous other attractions are available for visitors to
San Lorenzo. Tourists will find both terrestrial and aquatic
activities that include hiking, kayaking, birdwatching,
crocodile photographing safaris, game fishing, scuba diving,
and snorkeling. The grounds on Fort Sherman will hopefully
soon house an interpretative center highlighting Sherman's
historical and cultural past- moreover, plans to develop
butterfly and botanical gardens have been discussed.
Researchers will have their hands full with the
archaeological sites and challenges of the tropical forest.
This experience is enriched by the legacy of the past-
the proximity of the early French Canal, the Gatn Locks
of the Panama Canal, and the rich history of the site dating
back to the 16"' century.
(slide: Gerald P Bauer)

Slide 78. Major partners of the SLPA
The SLPA has many friends and supporters eager to ensure
the protection and sustainable use of its numerous historic,
cultural, and natural resources. The National Environmental
Authority (ANAM) is responsible for Panama's national
system of protected areas, including the SLPA, through an
interinstitutional agreement with the Interoceanic Regional
Authority (ARI), the Panamanian Institute of Culture
(INAC), and the Panamanian Tourist Institute (IPAT).
The Panamanian Center for Research and Social Action
(CEASPA), a non-governmental organization created in
1977, works with these government agencies and local
communities in the SLPA's buffer zone to achieve three
goals: sustainable development, participatory democracy,
and empowering leadership among women in their role
as citizens. In the SLPA and its buffer zone, CEASPA
concentrates on helping local communities promote
conservation through the sustainable use and management
of natural resources.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Histtlyy IE -m!H~

S ti1 h For S lmi l mzo(1597
r c: ISeai-lv lL cina (IN9s

Slide 79. Panama's future: The canal and
adjacent properties
The conservation of Panama's natural resources and
protection of the canal are linked. Today, nearly one-half
of the canal watershed is forested; of the forested area,
69 percent is in parks and protected areas. Most of the
remainder is in agriculture and settlements, with about 10
percent covered by water. Water from the canal watersheds
generates electricity and passes through the locks, it takes
52 million gallons of water to raise and lower each ship a
distance of 25 m. Alajuela Lake behind Madden Dam, which
was built in 1934 to control flooding and to regulate flow
into Gatin Lake, provides the water for canal operations.
The 1000 kin basin behind the dam -steep and susceptible
to erosion-receives heavy rainfall. Maintaining the
entire canal watershed and surrounding areas as part of
an integrated system can help assure prosperity into the
future. This is Panama's environmental challenge. As one
Panamanian author, Pereira-Jim~nez, has stated "There was
prosperity each time that the isthmus was used as a trail to
go from one sea to another. Each time that this function of
our country (Panama) was abandone& there was misery and
disharmony. To understand this conclusion is to know the
utmost mission of our Republic situated as it is between
two hemispheres."
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)

Slide 80. Conservation of the San Lorenzo
Protected Area (SLPA)
The SLPA is a treasured resource of the Panamanian people.
Protecting it is everyone's responsibility.
(slide: Gerald P. Bauer)


The authors are grateful to administrative personnel
and library staffs in Panama where Information was
collected: Ada Avila, ANCON; Charlotte Elton and
Belkys Jimenez, CEASPA; Rosa Valdivieso,
InstitIto Geogrfifico Nacional Tommy Guardia;
Angel Aguirre, Ricardo Beteta, Apolinar Guerrero,
and Elizabeth Sanchez, STRI, and Rolando Cochez,
Francia Herrera, and Gisela Lamments van Bueran,
Technical Resources Center for the Canal Authority
(ACP). Georgina de Alba, Reineldo Urriola,
Marcos Guerra, and Nelly Flores of STRI were
very helpful with the selection of several slides
fiom the Smithsonian collection. Slides 2. 16, 17,
and 19 were finalized by Francisco Cedefto. The
appendix figures were completed by Maya
Quifiones and Wilnari Diaz of the Landscape
Ecology Program at the IITF in Rio Piedras,
Puerto Rico.

STRI scientists and collaborators provided valuable
assistance: George R. Angehr and W Douglas
Robinson, birds; Richard Condit and Samuel J.
Wright, orientation at STRI; Roberto Ibafiez D.,
amphibians and reptiles; Steve Paton, climate;
Rafael Samudio Jr., mammals; and Neal Smith,
background information. Vibeke Horlyck,
United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP), provided an orientation and access
to the STRI crane.

Valuable comments on the text were received from
the following reviewers: Bill L. Bailey, on fishing;
Carlos Fitzgerald, of INAC and the University of
Panama, on anthropology and history; and
Charlotte Elton of CEASPA and Cecilia Guerra of
ANAM, on several topics; Jos6 Ignacio Mata of
PanamiA GreenCom cordially allowed the use of
computer facilities on weekends and holidays to
finish this work in a timely fashion.

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Appendix Table 1 -Chronology of main events in the history of the San Lorenzo
Protected Area'

Date Event


9000 Spear points of paleoindians found in the vicinity around Madden Dam, 50 km east of
the San Lorenzo Protected Area, indicate megafauna hunters were present.

5000- Indians use Panama as gateway between Central and South America; agriculture begins.


1500 Panama is occupied by 60 Indian groups related to the Chibchas of Colombia, the most
important being the Cuna, Choco, and Guaymi Indians.

1500s Early in the century, indigenous village located at "Fort Chagres town."

1501 Rodrigo de Bastides is the first European to land in Panama.

1502 Columbus explores Panama's Caribbean coast near the mouth of the Chagres River on
his fourth voyage and establishes a settlement at Nombre de Dios.

1513 Vasco Nuiez de Balboa sights the Pacific Ocean from a mountain peak in the Dari6n.

1519 Panama City, the oldest surviving European settlement on the American mainland, is
founded on the Pacific coast by Pedro Arias D~vila, Balboa's successor. Panama
becomes a transshipment route for Spanish colonists moving to the west coasts of
Central or South America; the mouth of Chagres River becomes a principal terminus
for travel across the isthmus.

1523 Charles V of Spain directs Cortes to find a strait across the isthmus.

1527 Hernando de la Serna finds the Chagres River navigable and advises the construction
of a warehouse at Las Cruces, and a road between Cruces and Panama City.

1530s Pizarro conquers Peru, and Panama becomes the portage between the oceans; Las
Cruces trail (Panama City to Chagres River to San Lorenzo) first established; use
continues through the days of the California gold rush.

1534 Charles V directs Panama's local governor to look for a canal route.

1535 Philip 1I of Spain first calls for defenses at the mouth of the Chagres River.

1540 Camino Real built from Panama City to Portobelo and Nombre de Dios.

1571 Drake enters the Chagres River and sacks Las Cruces, plundering barges on route.

Appendix Table 1-Chronology of main events in the history of the San Lorenzo
Protected Area1 (continued)

Date Event

1579 As many as 30 flat-bottom barges operate on the Chagres River.

1587 Trenches are dug at the mouth of the Chagres (San Lorenzo) to guard the river mouth.

1596 Drake burns Nombre de Dios and Portobelo becomes the Atlantic port of call.

1597 Antonelli, an Italian engineer, constructs a water level battery at San Lorenzo; the work
is completed in 1599.

1619 Several flat-bottomed boats transporting treasure are sunk in Chagres River.

1626 San Lorenzo is reconstructed and fitted with six cannons.

1637 Tomds Lanza suggests that San Lorenzo be fortified at 25 m above sea-level on the
plateau overlooking the Chagres River (its current location).

1670 British pirates under Bradley capture Fort San Lorenzo; Henry Morgan loses five ships
on a reef at the mouth of the Chagres River. Morgan then uses San Lorenzo as a base
to plunder Panama City in 1671, destroying San Lorenzo on departure.

1680s A major effort undertaken to rebuild the fort resulted in a three-level fortress; the town
of Chagres was established under the protection of the fort.

1681 The merchant ship Chaperon sinks at the mouth of the Chagres River. An unidentified
treasure galleon also sinks off Punta de Brujas and the ship Boticaria near the Isla
de Naranjos.

1730s Panama declines as a transhipment area; between 1520 and 1730, it was the main route
for colonists to Central America and the west coast of South America.

1739 In attacks made between 1739 and 1742, Admiral Vernon captures San Lorenzo and
bums the town of Chagres; the route across the isthmus through the Chagres River is
abandoned for another farther east in the Choco region. Later, San Lorenzo is used
as a prison.

1740 Two Spanish vessels sink at the mouth of the Chagres River.

1748 Spanish law establishes Cape Horn as the main route for shipment of cargo between
the Pacific coast of South America and Spain, and isthmus travel dwindles.

1750 Approximate date of current San Lorenzo ruins; presumed date for the construction of
the Gatin Hill trenches and Fort Gatiin (now flooded) at the confluence of the Chagres
and Gatfn Rivers.

Appendix Table 1 -Chronology of main events in the history of the San Lorenzo
Protected Area1 (continued)

Date Event

1751 Peruvian traders favor route around Cape Horn and Panama becomes a quiet,
geographically isolated appendage of New Granada.

1819 Old Chagres town sacked and burned by British corsairs.

1821 Panama declares its independence from Spain.

1849 Sutter's gold mine in California stimulates travel across the isthmus; the town of
Chagres becomes "Yankee Town."

1855 The railroad across the isthmus, started in 1850, is completed.

1869 Colombia declares San Lorenzo a state prison; travel to the Western United States
via Panama declines with the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad.

1879 The French buy the rights to construct the Panama Canal from Colombia.

1880 The French begin the construction of a proposed sea-level canal across the isthmus;
by 1889, the French dream directed by de Lesseps fails.

1898 Spanish-American War highlights U.S. inability to move ships from the Pacific to the
Atlantic Ocean rapidly.

1899 United Fruit Company (old Boston Fruit Company) sets up operations in Panama.

1903 Panama declares its independence from Colombia and signs the Hay-Bunau-Varilla
Treaty with the United States for construction of the Panama Canal.

1904 The United States delineates the Canal Zone and declares Fort San Lorenzo as "the
oldest fort under the American flag."

1906 The United States adopts a high-level lake and lock plan for construction of the canal;
Theodore Roosevelt visits Panama Canal construction work.

1908 The Panamanian government declares Fort San Lorenzo an historic monument.

1910 Construction of Fort Sherman begins to protect the entrance of the Panama Canal;
about 850 troops arrive 1 year later.

1911 Fort Sherman named in honor of renowned Civil War General William
Tecumseh Sherman.

1912 Construction of coastal batteries (Mower, Stanley, Howard, Baird, Pratt, MacKenzie,
and Kilpatrick) named in honor of Civil War military personnel is initiated; work is
finished by 1924.

Appendix Table 1-Chronology of main events in the history of the San Lorenzo
Protected Area1 (continued)

Date Event

1913 Tug Gatdin is the first boat lifted in the Gatcin Locks.

1914 The Panama Canal Zone is designated by Act of Congress on April 28 as a strip of
land 5 miles (8 km) wide on either side of the canal; the 1191h Company, U.S. Coast
Artillery, is assigned to Fort Sherman; the western breakwater is completed in May; the
Panama Canal opens and the steamship Ancon makes the first commercial passage
from Crist6bal to Panama City on August 15.

1916 A coastal strip of land between the Chagres and Majagual Rivers is added to Fort
Sherman; the eastern breakwater is completed in July.

1920 Military "jungle training" starts at Fort Sherman.

1923 U.S. Congress establishes Barro Colorado Island under the administration of the
Smithsonian Institution.

1942 Japanese use of aircraft carriers for combat makes Fort Sherman shoreline
batteries obsolete.

1943 Pifia Range first used for jungle training.

1951 The U.S. Army is given the responsibility of "keeping the art of jungle warfare alive
in the Army"

1953 Fort Sherman functions as a Jungle Operations Training Center.

1964 Flag riots, related to sovereignty of the Panama Canal, begin in Canal Zone.

1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaty outlines reversion of the Canal Zone to Panama, including 7,000
military and civilian buildings.

1979 Panama gains sovereignty over the canal and nominates Fort San Lorenzo as a World
Heritage Site.

1980 Fort San Lorenzo is declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

1980s Panama adopts several environmental measures to protect the canal watershed, a policy
that continued into the 1990s.

1999 Military training at Fort Sherman ceases; Fort Sherman and San Lorenzo revert to
Panama on June 30; the surrounding forest becomes the San Lorenzo Protected Area.

Sources: References. Not all of the references concurred on dates.

Appendix Table 2-Various groups associated with the San Lorenzo Protected Area

Panamanian Groups:
Autoridad del Canal de Panamd (ACP)... The Panama Canal Authority

Autoridad Maritima de Panamd (AMP)... National Maritime Authority

Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente (ANAM) ... National Environmental Authority

Autoridad de la Regi6n Interocednica (ARI) ... Interoceanic Regional Authority

Centro de Estudios y Acci6n Social Panamefio (CEASPA)... Panamanian Centre
for Research and Social Action

Fundaci6n Natura ... Natura Foundation

Instituto Nacional de Cultura (INAC) ... National Institute of Culture

Instituto Panamefio de Turismo (IPAT)... Panamanian Tourism Institute

Sociedad Audubon de Panarmd... Panama Audubon Society

U.S. Groups:
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

USDA Forest Service (International Institute of Tropical Forestry)

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

U.S. Peace Corps

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)

International Groups:
Global Environment Facility

Organizacion de las Naciones Unidas para la Educacion, la Ciencia y la Cultura
(UNESCO)... United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente (UNEP) ... United
Nations Environment Programme

World Bank

World Monument Fund

3 0 3 km

1 Devil's Caribbean Sea
2 Hidden
3 Shimmey
4 Pifia
5 Fort San Lorenzo
6 Gatun trenches (
7 North coast trail
Historical structures
8 French Canal
9 Fort Sherman
10 Gatn Dam C1
11 Gatun Locks Plr:
12 Breakwaters
World War I batteries
13 Baird
14 Howard
15 Kilpatrick
16 MacKenzie
17 Mower
18 Pratt
19 Stanley
20 Iglesias
21 Limon
22 Naranjitos
23 Pulpit
24 Shelter
25 Toro
26 Achiote
27 Congo Village
28 El Clement
29 Escobal
30 Piiha
31 STRI tower
32 Bunker Hill
33 Devil's villa e
34 Gatn drop:zoqe
35 Known dist nc range
36 Microwave tOwer
37 Pavon Hill
38 Pifa Firing Range

Figure 1 Place names in the San Lorenzo Protected Area.



,1 4




3 0 3 km



Chagres formation
Solid, fine-grained sandstone

Gatn formation
Sandstone, shale, tuff, conglomerate

Rio Hato formation
Conglomerate, sandstone, shale, tuff,
unconsolidated sandstone, pumice

K 7Chagres River

Figure 2 -. Geology of the San Lorenzo Protected Area.


3 0 3 km



Fort Sherman uplands
Mindi Hills
Piia-Escobal highlands
Chagres-Mojinga-Gatun lowlands
Lim6n Bay lowlands
Caribbean shore lowlands
Chagres River

Figure 3-Physiography of the San Lorenzo Protected Area.




3 0 3 km

7/ Roads
7/ / Rivers

Roads and trails
A Gatun Locks-Escobal Road (S10)
B Gatun Locks-Sherman Road (S2)
C Piha Road (Si)
D Sherman-San Lorenzo Road (S8)
E Tower Road

Rivers and streams
1 Aguadulce
2 Arenal
3 Arenoso
4 Buena Vista
5 Chagres
6 Congo
7 Crematorio
8 Grande
9 Iglesias
10 Indio
11 Mojinga
12 Medio
13 Morito
14 Narajitos
15 Negrita
16 Paulino
17 Petitpie
18 Piha
19 Providencia
20 Trienticinco

21 French Canal
22 Mojinga Swamp
23 Panama Canal

[igure 4 Roads and ivers in the San Lorenzo Protected Area.


3 0 3 km

== - . . . . . =%
-" r .: ,> ) ..... .....

iil iii...........~

% -. / .=. % = % -/ =. . . . .'* *. . . . j - i - -
.t Z== = o = = = = . . .= / = . = = = = = %
.% / . '% % % =% ..=. = %. %% /.= % / -= / -.IC Y./. ----

Site Feature and location

A Ceramic and bricks, south banks of Rio Lajas
80 m from confluence with Rio Chagres
B Bricks and stone
C Stone wall, 100 m from the confluence of
the Rio Lajas and Rio Chagres
D Vegetation anomaly mouth of Rio Chagres
E Ceramic fragments near Rio Chagres
F Ceramic fragments near Rio Chagres
G Old stone well, 1911 century bottle fragments
H Road with cobblestone
I Road with cobblestone
J Silted dam with pipe running into Bahia
Limon north of Punta Limon
K Road with cobblestone
L Artillery gun emplacement
M Artillery gun emplacement
N Chagres town site
O Pair of railroad ore cars, 0.5 km west-
northwest of Punta Pulpit
P Heavily eroded ceramic sherds

Probable a




Perhaps old* cooia buitdin sib
Prehistoric ..
. . . . . . .
191 century .
19'1 century

World War I to early 1940s
World War I to early 1940s
1 600s to early 1900s
1880s, French Canal construction


Figure 5-Archaeological sites in the San Lorenzo Protected Area.

. .. . . .= . . . .% % / = . =/ = -. .

. . . .* . . . . =- . % .

~ ~~ ~~ ~ ~ .. = . / .=/ ./ .. .= = o = = = . .

..~~~ ~~~ .== % .. . . = . . =.=. = .

S . .. . . .. . . =.. = =.. . / .


3 0 3 km

>1 -


[ --

Seagrass beds
Evergreen seasonal low forest
Evergreen seasonal mixed forest
Evergreen seasonal tall forest
Semideciduous seasonal low forest
Semideciduous seasonal mixed forest
Deciduous forest
Cativo forest
Flooded palm forest
Mangrove swamp
Coastal mixed vegetation
Herbaceous wetland (seminatural)
Flooded shrub land
Flooded herbaceous land
Crops and pasture

Figure 6-Vegetation types in the San Lorenzo Protected Area.



Weaver, Peter L.; Bauer, Gerald P.; Jimenez, Belkys. 2003. The Sail Lorenzo
Protected Area: Panama's Caribbean treasure. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-23. San Juan,
PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of
Tropical Forestry. 60 p.

The 12,000-ha San Lorenzo Protected Area (SLPA), located at the northwestern
entrance to the Panama Canal, is currently part of the Mesoamerican corridor of
protected areas extending from the Yucatan of Mexico to Panama's border with
Colombia. The SLPA includes Fort San Lorenzo, where the Spanish initiated a water
level battery in 1597, and later built a fort to protect the gold route over the isthmus at
the mouth of the Chagres River. Fort Sherman, a U.S. military base, was established
in 1910 to protect the northern entrance to the Panama Canal. Both forts fulfilled their
military objectives; Fort Sherman has also maintained control over the area's natural
resources during the 20h century. This slide program highlights the SLPA as part of a
major crossroads between continents and oceans, and briefly describes pre-Columbian
activities, the Spanish conquest, the legacy of fortune seekers and the Chagres River,
French and U.S. efforts on the canal, the role of immigrants in building Panama's
infrastructure, the military history of Forts San Lorenzo and Sherman, and early
agricultural activities. The SLPA's flora, fauna, hydrological network, marine resources,
current research, and proposed conservation. including both protection and use, are
also mentioned. A chronology of major events relevant to the SLPA is included.

Keywords: Fauna, flora, Fort San Lorenzo, Fort Sherman, historical chronology.
Panama Canal, slide program.

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