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Latino Daily News

Sunday August 15, 2010

Fog Catchers of Peru - One of Mother Nature’s Wonders

If finding water in the desert is a blessing, then Atiquipa really is blessed! Located in the middle of Peru’s coastal desert, the lomas of Atiquipa bloom every year between July and November. Lomas are isolated, oasis-like pockets of vegetation sprinkled throughout the Peruvian desert.  How do plants in lomas find enough water to survive? During the Peruvian winter and spring, a dense fog that comes in from the Pacific Ocean blankets the rolling hills along the coast of Atiquipa, where it condenses and provides moisture that nurtures these patches of lush, green vegetation. This fog also sustains the local community members who capture it in nets to collect water they can drink, and also use to nourish their crops.

As the fog comes in, its moisture is naturally captured by small hills and trees in the arid landscape.  Natives also create their own fog catchers-huge mist nets strung between large wooden poles-that are an unlikely sight in this rugged landscape.  As the wind blows the fog through, the tiny droplets cling to the net that are eventually captured in storage tanks.  This moisture, from Mother Nature and man-made then create the lomas, a lush, green forest brimming with more than 350 plant species and nearly 80 bird species - a true oasis in the desert and a wonder of Mother Nature and man’s ingenuity.