Central Andean BioProvince

This Bioprovince extends through southern Peru, western Bolivia and northern Chile and Argentina. The Andes formed some 50 million years ago during the Tertiary period by a process of large intrusions of igneous rock and volcanic activity. The climate has been described as transitional between tropical and sub-tropical, and is sensitive to changes in the position of the Intertropical Convergence Zone which can disturb seasonal precipitation. The high altitude zones are characterised by extremely wide ranging diurnal temperatures and literally experiences summer every day and winter every night. This has been a major selective force in the adaptation of plants. There is a long dry season and short wet season with about two thirds of all rainfall occurring between December and March. This part of the Andes comprises two parallel mountain chains separated by a wide, high plateau known as the altiplano. Here the vegetation includes the so-called puna, salt flats (salares) and lagoons. The area once supported an extensive inland sea, but only salt flats remain. However, Lake Titicaca at an altitude of 3,812 m on the Peru-Bolivia border is the highest commercially viable lake in the world, and in terms of volume, is the largest lake in South America.

The following accounts for this BioProvince have been written or will be written with particular reference to endemic and locally important species. Accounts available are displayed in green or yellow. Those displayed in red are either in the pipeline or awaiting expert contributions.


Major Ecosystems
Endemic Vascular Flora (Andes)
Bryophyte Flora
Fungus Flora
Lichen Flora
Invertebrate Fauna
Amphibian Fauna
Reptile Fauna
Bird Fauna
Mammal Fauna
Conservation Status