Bolivian Yungas Ecoregion (South America)

Bolivian Yungas Ecoregion (South America)

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 18:58
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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.

Bolivian Yungas

The Bolivian Yungas is a tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion in the Yungas of west-central Bolivia and extreme southeastern Peru.

This ecoregion occurs in elevations ranging from 400 to 3,500 m (1,300 to 11,500 ft) on the eastern slopes of the Andes in Bolivia. 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.

The high humidity of the Yungas are from water droplets and rain deposited by northern trade winds. The topography is complex, with most of the higher peaks accounted for by outlying Andean ridgetops.

The high levels of biodiversity and endemism characterizing this unique ecoregion are attributable to its transitional position between highly contrasting habitats, as well as extremely heterogeneic topography.

Much of this region is under the protection of national parks, however slash and burn practices threaten most of the unprotected habitat.

Thie Bolivian Yungas ecoregion forms a transition along Andean slopes between Amazonian and highland Puna habitat. The habitat is tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest, including montane cloud forest, and other types of evergreen forest.

Trees are often lined with various epiphytes, including bromeliads, orchids and tree ferns. Chusquea bamboo characterizes the region.

The number of endemic species in this ecoregion is high. Rare fauna species include the spectacled bear, Geoffroy’s cat and green-capped tanager.

The climate in this ecoregion varies from tropical rain forest to tropical monsoon. Fog and rain deposited by northern trade winds contribute to the high humidity and precipitation of the Yungas.

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, steepness of terrain and very high rainfall.

This ecoregion is threatened because it is easier for local agrarianists to burn this habitat than true montane forest for growing cash crops.