In equatorial South America a complete altitudinal belt series, from lowland rainforest up to the nival belt is found on the eastern slopes of the Andes in northern Peru, Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela. Many peaks here are higher than 5000 m NN. In Costa Rica the highest peak is 4000 m NN. The tepuis in Guayana rise to less than 3000 m NN and have such steep sides that an altitudinal belt series cannot develop. Vegetation is in fact found only on the flat upper surface of the tepuis, growing on poor quartzite-sandstone soils; it has only recently been investigated. Ecologically, the tepuis must be regarded as peinobiomes (see Vol. I, p. 219). Ecological investigations have been made of the alpine “páramo” belt in the Venezuelan Andes near Merida.
KeywordsTree Line Forest Belt Tree Fern Altitudinal Belt Windward Slope
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