The páramo landscape consists of natural grasslands above the closed forest line (generally at 3000–3500m asl—above sea level) and below the glaciers (4500–5000m asl), where these are present. They cover ∼35,000km2 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.
|Título de la publicación alojada
|Encyclopedia of the World's Biomes
|Subtítulo de la publicación alojada
|ISBN (versión digital)
|Publicada - 1 ene. 2020
|Publicado de forma externa