Neha Patil (Editor)

Central Andean dry puna

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Realm  Neotropic
Central Andean dry puna httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Biome  Montane grasslands and shrublands
Borders  Sechura Desert Atacama Desert Chilean matorral Southern Andean steppe Central Andean puna Central Andean wet puna Bolivian montane dry forests
Countries  Argentina, Bolivia, Chile
Rivers  Desaguadero River, Lauca River, Río Grande de Lipez,
Conservation status  Relatively Stable/Intact

The Central Andean dry puna is an ecoregion, in the Montane grasslands and shrublands biome, located in the Andean high plateau, in South America. It is a part of the Puna grassland.



This ecoregion occupies the southwestern portion of the Altiplano and is located east of the Atacama Desert.

Salt flats, locally known as Salares, are a characteristic feature of this ecoregion. Among the largest salares are Coipasa, Uyuni, Atacama, and Arizaro. Other major geographical features are the lakes Poopó and Coipasa, and the many volcanoes that tower over the altiplano, including Parinacota, Nevado Sajama, Tata Sabaya, Ollagüe, Licancabur, Lascar, Aracar, Socompa and Llullaillaco. In addition, numerous and colorful small lakes and ponds dot this region. There are seasonal as well as permanent, and have different degrees of salinity.


This ecoregion has a cold desert climate.


Typical high Andean wetlands are the Bofedales. These marshy areas are characterized by the presence of cushion bog vegetation. The Yareta grows in well-drained soils. Grasslands are dominated by species of the genera Stipa and Festuca.

Central Andean dry puna is home to Polylepis species, including the Polylepis tarapacana, which is the woody plant that grows at the highest elevations in the world.


Camelids, such as llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, are found in this ecoregion. Other mammals include the cougar, Andean mountain cat, Andean fox, and the Andean hairy armadillo.

Three of the six flamingo species inhabit here. They are Andean flamingo, James's flamingo, and Chilean flamingo. Other remarkable birds are the Darwin's rhea, Andean condor, puna tinamou, puna teal, puna ibis and the Andean goose.

Population and conservation

Animals and plants find refuge in the protected areas of this ecoregion. Those include:

  • Lauca National Park
  • Sajama National Park
  • Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve
  • Los Flamencos National Reserve
  • Olaroz-Cauchari Flora and Fauna Reserve
  • Llullaillaco National Park
  • References

    Central Andean dry puna Wikipedia

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