MANU BIODIVERSITY : The Changes With Altitude

From 3800 meters above sea level, on the eastern side of the Andes, the vast area of the Manu Biosphere Reserve opens out into the Amazonian plain via a sharp descent through steep mountains, plunging creeks and precipices. With this abrupt altitude change come drastic geographical and climatic variations, which in turn determine the variety of flora and fauna found in the different zones of the Reserve.

Although, generally speaking, the number of species diminishes as altitude increases, the incidence of ferns, epiphytes and some groups of insects increases notably.

The species that inhabit the high grasslands (puna) and highland forests, have a very limited distribution and are amazingly well-adapted to such conditions. This places highland habitats among the most fragile environments in the Manu Biosphere Reserve and those most in need of conservation measures.