The Atacama Desert region, stretching over a formidable 1,600 km along the Pacific coast of Chile, is not merely a geographical marvel but an intricate mosaic of history, ecology, and adaptation. Beyond its arid expanses lies the Atacama Desert Ecoregion—an ecological classification that extends its influence across adjacent areas.
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Ecoregions of South America
The Argentine Espinal ecoregion is a thorny deciduous shrubland forest located in central Argentina, extending from central Santa Fe through the province of Córdoba to the north of San Luis. It has been extensively modified by large-scale cattle ranching.
The Araucaria moist forests ecoregion spans the mountainous areas of Southern Atlantic Brazil and extends into northeastern Argentina. It is a coniferous forest ecoregion of the Atlantic Forest biome.
The Beni savanna is an ecoregion located in the Beni Department of northern Bolivia. Also known as the Llanos de Moxos, it is the third-largest savanna complex in South America and is found in the lowlands of the southwestern Amazon basin, extending northeast from the foot of the Andean ranges.
The Bolivian montane dry forests ecoregion in Bolivia, on the eastern side of the Andes, is a transitional habitat between the puna grasslands higher up to the west and the Chaco scrub to the east. Steep hillsides, cliffs and valleys characterize this dry region.
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 Central Andean Dry Puna, an arid haven in the high southern Andes of Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina, captivates with arid landscapes, salt flats, and ancient sea remnants. Unique vegetation adapted to extreme conditions and diverse fauna, from Andean camelids to elusive predators and unique birds, thrive in this high-elevation ecoregion. As a mosaic of arid splendor, the Central Andean Dry Puna unfolds a captivating story of adaptation and conservation.
The Central Andean wet puna ecoregion, a gem in the southern high Andean Mountains of Peru and eastern Bolivia, reveals itself as a high-elevation, moist, montane grassland. Marked by snow-capped peaks, mountain pastures, high lakes, plateaus, and valleys, this region extends beyond the tree line, forming a distinctive composition of landscapes.
Located on the west coast of South America, the Chilean Matorral is a terrestrial ecoregion of central Chile. It contains most of Chile's population and is typically characterized by a temperate Mediterranean climate. It is home to Chile's renowned wine and agricultural regions.
The Chocó-Darién moist forests ecoregion extends along most of Colombia's Pacific coast, bounded to the east by the Andes, and along the Caribbean coast, north into Panama. The region has exceptionally high rainfall, and the forests hold incredible biodiversity.
The Guajira-Barranquilla xeric scrub ecoregion, along the Caribbean Sea in northern Venezuela and Colombia, is a unique xerophytic area in the neotropics. Proposed as a bird center of endemism, this arid habitat is dominated by thorn scrub and succulents.