Bolivian Yungas Ecoregion (Bolivia, Peru)
The Bolivian yungas is a tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion in the yungas of west-central Bolivia and extreme southeastern Peru. Steep terrain, high precipitation, and difficult access have kept much of this ecoregion in a natural state.
The Bolivian yungas is a tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion in the yungas of west-central Bolivia and extreme southeastern Peru.
It forms a transition zone between the Southwest Amazon moist forests to the northeast and the Central Andean puna and wet puna to the southeast.
This ecoregion occurs in elevations ranging from 400 - 3,500 m (1,300 - 11,500 ft) on the eastern slopes of the Andes in Bolivia. The topography is complex, with most of the higher peaks accounted for by distant Andean ridgetops.
The WWF has delineated three yungas ecoregions along the eastern side of the Andes range:
The climate in the Bolivian yungas varies from tropical rainforest to tropical monsoon. Fog and rain deposited by northern trade winds contribute to the high humidity and precipitation of the Yungas.
Flora and Fauna
The Bolivian yungas ecoregion transitions along Andean slopes between the Amazonian and highland puna habitat. The habitat is tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest, including montane cloud forest and other evergreen forest types.
The high levels of biodiversity and endemism characterizing this unique ecoregion are attributable to its transitional position between highly contrasting habitats and extremely heterogeneous topography.
Trees are often lined with epiphytes, including bromeliads, orchids and tree ferns. In addition, Chusquea bamboo characterizes the region.
The number of endemic species in this ecoregion is high. Rare fauna includes the spectacled bear, Geoffroy’s cat and green-capped tanager.
Steep terrain, high precipitation, and difficult access have kept much of this ecoregion in a natural state. Fortunately, most protected areas in this ecoregion are difficult to cultivate due to difficult access, the steepness of the terrain and very high rainfall.
Much of this region is under the protection of national parks. However, slash-and-burn practices threaten most of the unprotected habitats.
This ecoregion is threatened because it is easier for local agrarians to burn this habitat than an actual montane forest for growing cash crops.
Map depicting the location of the Bolivian Yungas ecoregion (in purple)