Plant diversity in Páramo-Neotropical high mountain humid grasslands

Robert G.M. Hofstede, Luis Daniel Llambí

Producción científica: Capítulo del libro/informe/acta de congresoCapítulorevisión exhaustiva

5 Citas (Scopus)


The páramo landscape consists of natural grasslands above the closed forest line (generally at 3000-3500 m asldabove sea level) and below the glaciers (4500-5000 m asl), where these are present. They cover ~35,000 km2 extending across Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and northern Peru and a number of small patches between Costa Rica and Panamá. They constitute an ecological archipelago, distributed along the highest parts of the northern Andes. The vegetation is subjected to large daily temperature fluctuations, and mist cover alternates with high solar irradiation. Therefore, organisms have developed unique adaptive strategies to cope with abiotic conditions in this extreme environment, leading to important processes of speciation and evolutionary convergence. This has resulted in high endemism and a remarkable plant diversity, the highest among all alpine landscapes in the world (Fig. 1). Páramos provide a range of ecosystem services that created a large social basis for its conservation, especially for water regulation. However, human activities, including agriculture, cattle grazing and mining, impact their capacity to provide benefits for the wider society. The current configuration and diversity of páramo cannot be assessed without considering its coexistence, positively and negatively, with human society. This situation is even more dynamic considering the yet little understood impact of global climate change. High mountain ecosystems are among the most exposed and vulnerable in the world to the effects of global warming and páramo is no exception. However, there is still a large knowledge gap about the actual effects on local temperature regimes and precipitation patters and therefore, the associated impact on the ecosystem, its vegetation and society remain little understood.

Idioma originalInglés
Título de la publicación alojadaIslands and Atolls - Life in and Surrounded by Water
Número de páginas11
ISBN (versión digital)9780128160978
ISBN (versión impresa)9780128160961
EstadoPublicada - 26 jun. 2020
Publicado de forma externa


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