Barclay, Harriet G. Department of Life Sciences, University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Last reviewed:January 2020
- Altitudinal zonation
- Plant life forms and species
- Agricultural practices
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
An alpine biological community in the central portion of the Andes Mountains of South America characterized by low-growing, widely spaced plants that lack much green color for most of the year. Sparsely vegetated, treeless stretches of the puna (Fig. 1) cover the high plateau country (altiplano) and slopes of central and southern Peru, Bolivia, northern Chile, and northwestern Argentina. The poor vegetative cover and the animals of the puna are limited by short seasonal precipitation and by the low temperatures typical of high altitudes. In spite of the severe climate and limited use of the puna, some portions are inhabited by the indigenous peoples of this region. See also: Ecological communities; South America
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