Venezuelan Andes Montane Forests Ecoregion (Venezuela)

Venezuelan Andes Montane Forests Ecoregion (Venezuela)

Mon, 04/01/2019 - 17:05
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The Venezuelan Andes Montane Forests ecoregion is located in the northern arm of the Andes. Surrounded by xeric valleys and páramo, the richness of species and large number of endemic species make this one of the most interesting areas of Venezuela in terms of biodiversity.

Venezuelan Andes Montane Forests Ecoregion

The Venezuelan Andes montane forests ecoregion is located in the northern arm of the Andes Mountains in Venezuela The geological history, glacial movements and great variety of physical and geographical factors give shape to this moist forest ecoregion's particularly complex and dense, transitional and montane evergreen cloud forests.

Surrounded by inter-Andean xeric valleys and páramo, the high richness of plant and animal species and large number of endemic species, make this ecoregion one of the most interesting areas of Venezuela in terms of biodiversity.

This moist forest ecoregion encompasses the high altitude cloud forests, representing an ecological barrier that separates the great basins of Lake Maracaibo and the Llanos of Venezuela.

This ecoregion occupies middle elevations of the Venezuelan Andes or Venezuelan Andean Cordillera, a northeastern branch of the Andes. They are separated form the eastern Andes of Colombia by the Tachira depression at the border between Colombia and Venezuela.

These mountains separate the Maracaibo lake basin from the plains of the Llanos. The Venezuelan Andes montane forest also includes those forests located around Tamá Massif, a relatively isolated montane area located between the Eastern Andes of Colombia and the Táchira depression.

The Venezuelan Andes montane forest also includes those forests located around Tamá Massif, a relatively isolated montane area located between the Eastern Andes of Colombia and the Táchira depression.

To the southeast it adjoins the Llanos and the Apure-Villavicencio dry forests, and to the southwest adjoins the Cordillera Oriental montane forests. To the northwest it adjoins the Catatumbo moist forests and the Maracaibo dry forests. To the north it merges into Paraguana xeric scrub and La Coast xeric shrublands.

Surrounded by inter-Andean xeric valleys and páramo, the high richness of plant and animal species and large number of endemic species make this ecoregion one of the most interesting areas of Venezuela in terms of biodiversity.

The climate is strongly influenced by the northeastern trade winds, especially during the dry season, from December to April. From April to November, the inter-tropical convergence zone brings the highest rainfall of the year. Annual rainfall is roughly 2000-3000 mm (80-120 in) but can be quite variable.

The regional flora of the Venezuelan Andes is extraordinarily diverse. Vegetation includes evergreen transition forests between 800 m (2,600 ft) and 1,800 - 2,000 m (5,900 - 6,600 ft) and evergreen cloud forests higher up.

The evergreen transition forests are dense, with two or three layers, with most trees of the families Lauraceae, Moraceae, Myrtaceae, Bignoniaceae, Euphorbiaceae and Araliaceae. From 2,000 - 3,000 m (6,600 - 9,800 ft) there are very dense cloud forests with two or three layers, many epiphytes and a rich understory.

There are twenty-five restricted-range endemic bird species in this ecoregion. Four endemic mammals are present in the Venezuelan Andean montane forests ecoregion: a marsupial (Gracilinanus dryas), a bat (Anoura luismanueli), a rat (Thomasomys vestitus) and a poorly known fish eating rat, (Neusticomys mussoi). In addition, there is a great number of endemic frogs.

A species of special concern is the spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus), an endangered mammal with wide distribution in the Andes, from Colombia and Venezuela, to Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.