Santa Marta Páramo Ecoregion (Colombia)

Santa Marta Páramo Ecoregion (Colombia)

Mon, 11/19/2018 - 16:29
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The Santa Marta páramo is an ecoregion containing páramo (high moorland) vegetation above the treeline in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range on the Caribbean coast of Colombia.

Santa Marta Páramo

The Santa Marta páramo is an ecoregion of the Páramo (Andean Moorland) biome, above the treeline in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range, on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. It is the most northern section of páramo in South America.

The Santa Marta páramo ecoregion has an area of 129,499 ha (320,000 acres). The ecoregion is included in the jurisdiction of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park; however, existing cattle grazing and agricultural development by the indigenous people has severely altered the landscape.

The Santa Marta Páramo is found between the treeline around 3,300 m (10,800 ft) and the snowline around 5,000 m (16,000 ft), with some variations due to differences in slope, rainfall and exposure to the wind and sun.

The isolated position of the range has allowed unique species to evolve. Some are related to those found in Central America and the Caribbean coastal areas and some to species from the Andes.

This is a roughly triangular massif with its north side parallel to the Caribbean Sea, the southwest side facing the swamps of the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta and the southeast side facing the Serranía del Perijá mountains across the Cesar and Ranchería river valleys.

The Santa Marta Páramo ecoregion is surrounded by the Santa Marta montane forests ecoregion, which in turn is surrounded by the Sinú Valley dry forests and Guajira-Baranquilla xeric scrub ecoregions.

Due to its isolation, a range of endemic flora and fauna occur here including the genus Cabreriela, Castenedia and Raouliopsis. The habitat is relatively stable, but has been drastically changed from the original by long-term human activity.

To be noted among the fauna is the endemic venado de páramo (Mazana americana carrikeri), and the león colorado (Felis concolor bangsi). Birds include the Adean condor (Vultur gryphus), Rufous-collared sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis), Fuegian Snipe (Gallinago stricklandii) and frailejón (Libanothamnus glossophyllus).