Southern Andean Yungas Ecoregion (South America)

Southern Andean Yungas Ecoregion (South America)

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 19:20
Posted in:

The Southern Andean Yungas is a tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion in the Yungas of southwestern Bolivia and northwestern Argentina. It contains what may be the last of the isolated evergreen forests resulting from Quaternary glaciations.

Southern Andean Yungas

The Southern Andean Yungas is a tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion in the Yungas of southwestern Bolivia and northwestern Argentina. The ecoregion occurs in elevations ranging from 800 to 3,000 m (2,600 to 9,800 ft).

The Southern Andean Yungas ecoregion essentially forms a mesic habitat that lies between two much drier habitats. The ecoregion is loosely bordered to the east by the Chaco and tightly interdigitated to the west with Bolivian Montane Dry Forest, spanning southwestern Bolivia and northwestern Argentina.

This ecoregion has a subtropical highland climate. The climate is influenced by trade winds that bring about 2,500 m (98 in) of rain per year.

This ecoregion is extremely fascinating from a biogeographic perspective, as it contains what may be the last of the isolated evergreen forests resulting from Quaternary glaciations (an alternating series of glacial and interglacial periods where glaciers expanded and contracted).

The Southern Andean Yungas consists of a mesic evergreen forest, with trees typically less than 15 m (49 ft) tall. Between 1,200 to 2,500 m (3,900 to 8,200 ft) the forest is dominated by Andean alder (Alnus acuminata) and mountain pine (Podocarpus parlatorei). At lower elevations these species mix with other trees, especially Lauraceae and Myrtaceae.

Many tropical species find the southern limit of their range in this ecoregion. Mammals that may be found here include the white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari), the collared peccary (Pecari tajacu), and the South American tapir (Tapirus terrestris). Cats include the jaguar (Panthera onca), puma (Puma concolor), margay (Leopardus wiedii), and jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi).

Like the Bolivian Yungas to the north, this region is also quite strong in endemics, including approximately 10 avian species that are range-restricted, including the red-faced guan (Penelope dabbenei), Rothschild's swift (Cypseloides rothschildi), and the rufous-throated dipper (Cinclus schulzi).

There are a number of National Parks and protected areas in this ecoregion, in both Bolivia (Tariquía National Reserve) and Argentina (Calilegua National Park, Baritú National Park, El Rey National Park, and Potrero de Yala Provincial Park).