Wandering among wild orchids

Endangered orchids, Rhynchostele rossi, thrive in a cloud forest nature reserve in the mountains of Sierra Gorda, Central Mexico

It’s November and clusters of orchids, their white petals decorated in orange speckles like leopard print, are flowering on the branches of ancient oaks.

This endangered species grows in the humid mountain forests, at elevations of 2,000 to 2,400 meters, in just four countries in Latin America: Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

We discover this wild orchid garden while trekking in the Sierra Gorda, a vast mountainous region in Central Mexico that’s one of the most diverse areas of the country.

A grassroots movement, formed over 20 years ago with local communities, is working to protect these forests from unregulated development; Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda (GESG) safeguard one million acres of tropical forests, temperate mountains and semi-deserts.

This cloud forest, where the flowers of exotic orchids perch on delicate stems, was saved by from imminent destruction as a proposed road was set to make logging in its higher easily accessible – devastating this habitat and destroying its endangered flora and fauna.

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