Round 3

High Andean Forests: challenges and opportunities

Dr Tatiana Boza Espinoza - Institute for Nature, Earth, and Energy (INTE), Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú

High Andean forests are biodiversity hotspots that play an important role in the provisioning of vital ecosystem services such as regulation of the water cycle, formation and conservation of soils, support of biodiversity, among others. Polylepis is the dominant genus in the high Andean forest vegetation and they have a crucial ecological role. Polylepis forests harbor unique biodiversity, including several highly specialized, often range-restricted and threatened bird species. However, these forests are highly endangered by climate change, habitat fragmentation and anthropogenic disturbances, and many of their biological aspects are still unknow. It has been estimated that over 90% of Polylepis forests have already been lost in Peru and Bolivia. The high Andes are expected to undergo severe changes in the coming decades because of on-going land-use change and climatic change likely threatening Polylepis forests even more. Polylepis forests have a low ability to colonize dens grasslands and low seed dispersal ability, severely limiting the ability of the forest to spread and to track climatic conditions. As a result of all the above, Polylepis forests have been listed as one of the most endangered woodlands ecosystems in the world and the conservation of the remaining forests stands has given high priority. Taking a critical look at the limitations of current knowledge of the biological aspects of Polylepis forests and proposing a research agenda to fill the knowledge gaps will help to the conservation action of these forests

See also

Modification date: 12 January 2024 | Publication date: 05 May 2023 | By: Tatiana Boza Espinoza