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The plateau of Sexi is located in the province of Santa Cruz, Cajamarca, on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera Occidental (79°10’W, 6°35’S). The area is in the middle montane zone, with elevations ranging from 2400 to 2600 m. The volcanic rocks of the region, part of the Huambos Formation (Wilson 1985), include pyroclastic and lahar deposits that preserved the fossil forest. The substrate is highly weathered and forms a porous, acidic substrate for plant growth.
The rainy season occurs from December to April, but rainfall is highly variable and droughts common. Most precipitation is associated with storm systems embedded in the easterly flow. Air moving inland and upslope from the coast brings fog that supports epiphytic plants. Winds are often fierce, possibly because the plateau is a low point in the mountain range that acts as a wind funnel.