PUNA: what is it, characteristics, flora and fauna - Summary, photos and map

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Depending on climatic and geological factors, the planet has different ecosystems with unique characteristics and biodiversity. Ecoregions are part of the planet and it is a geographical area that is characterized by the same conditions that refer to the type of soil, its bodies of water, the climate, the fauna and the flora, among other factors.

In this interesting article by Green Ecologist you will discover what is the Puna, its characteristics, flora and fauna that inhabit it. Keep reading and learn about this ecoregion that unites several countries in America.

What is the Puna

La Puna is a highland ecoregion, or it can also be called the high plateau of the Puna or high mountain plateau. Where is the Puna located? Well, this is characteristic of the central area of the Andes mountains From South America.

Countries that are seen within the boundaries of the La Puna ecoregion they are Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. It is because of these limits that there are different areas and we can talk about the puna of Argentina, and within this you can differentiate more areas such as the Puna Jujuy (in the province of Jujuy) and the Puna Salteña (in the province of Salta), we can also find the Puna de Atacama in Chile and part of Argentina, as well as the Bolivian Puna and also the Puna of Peru. You can see a map of the Peruvian Puna below.

If you want to know more about these types of places around the world, we recommend reading these other articles by Ecologist Verde on What is an ecoregion and The ecoregions of Peru and their characteristics.

Characteristics of the Puna

What's in the Puna? If you ask yourself, take note that these are the main characteristics of the La Puna ecoregion and later learn about its flora and fauna.

  • Its territory has altitudes greater than 3,000 m and extends from 10 ° North latitude in Peru to 32 ° South latitude in Argentina.
  • The climate of the Puna is mountainous, with cold temperatures and with respect to precipitation, it has a dry climate. In the ecoregion there may be variations since in the lower zones there can be a temperate climate and in the higher ones an alpine climate.
  • Temperatures in winter can reach 13 ° C falling to -11 ° C at night, however, in summer they reach 20 ° C by day and approximately -15 ° C at night.
  • Strong winds in the highland ecoregion are very common, being present almost every day, reaching their greatest strength in the afternoon, reaching approximately 97 km / h.
  • Precipitation decreases from East to West and its potential evapotranspiration exceeds 600 mm, leading to a constant water deficit. This relationship between these two factors means that we can separate the Puna into three sectors: Desert Puna, Humid Puna and Dry Puna.
  • The solar incidence in the Puna is 2,200 KW / m2 / year, thus becoming the 6th place in the world with the highest incident solar energy, making this ecoregion ideal for the development of technology based on solar energy without a strong impact on the environment.
  • With regard to the hydrological characteristics in the Puna there are abundant endorheic basins that form salt flats and salt flats.

Next, the flora and fauna of the Puna ecoregion will be discussed in more detail to learn more about the characteristics of this place.

Flora of the Puna

If you are interested in knowing what is the flora of the Puna, notes that in this area, where water scarcity predominates and is divided into three sectors according to the climate, the vegetation changes depending on the sector to which it refers.

  • Refering to humid Puna vegetationWe can say that herbaceous and shrub species are the most representative, although some areas of the territory also lack plant cover. Among the shrub species there is a Puna plant very representative, it is about the reeds of the lagoons. The growth and development of these shrubs in greater proportions makes refuges for birds originate. Among the bushes it is very common to find the ichu (Stipa ichu) used for forage purposes, the colli (Leathery buddleja) and the queñoa (Polylepis sp). Another dominant shrub species is the Satureja sp. and in the grass family the chillihua dominates (Festuca dolichophylla). At the edges of the streams you can see species of trees such as willow, elderberry and alder or the Puja raimondiiThe latter being an endemic species of the Puna that presents impressive characteristics.
  • The arid Puna flora (desert and dry) differs from the flower of the humid Puna mainly by the density of the vegetation, being this much lower in the arid Puna. Its species have greater tolerance to droughts, which is why there is a great variety of xerophytic plants, such as succulents and cacti. Some common species are Parastrephia lucida Y Maritime triglochin.

Fauna of the Puna

The most characteristic among the animals of the Puna are:

  • The auquenids, like the guanaco and the vicuña, which are wild species, and the llama, the alpaca and the huarizo, which are domestic species. These are very common among the animals of the Peruvian highlands. We recommend this other curious post about the Difference between llama and alpaca.
  • Within the group of mammals we also find the taruka, the gray deer, the Andean quirquincho, the mountain vizcachas, the highland chinchilla, the skunk and predators, such as the Andean cat, the andean puma and the Andean fox.
  • Among the bird species you can see Andean flamenco, the huayata, the Puno hummingbird, the horned coot, the ñandú, the Puna duck, the condor, the Puna goldfinch, the Aymara paolmita and others.
  • Regarding the fish it is the suche or mauri the most representative, but there are also many species of the genus Orestias.
  • And finally, smaller animals are also present, such as snakes, toads and frogs, lizards and a large number of species of insects.

If you want to read more articles similar to Puna: what is it, characteristics, flora and fauna, we recommend that you enter our Ecosystems category.

  • Ecorregiones y Complejos Ecosistemicos Argentinos, Edition: First, Chapter: 2, Publisher: Orientación Gráfica Editora S.R.L., Editors: J. Morello, S.D. Matteucci, A. Rodriguez, M. SIlvia, pp. 87-127
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