Search By:


Administrative Units


Ecological Units

Biodiversity Hotspots

Bio-geographic Zones


Coastal & Marine Eco-systems


Conservation Units

World Natural Heritage Sites

Biosphere Reserves

Tiger Conservation Units

Project Tiger

Project Elephant

Important Bird Areas

Ramsar Sites

Tropical Andes Hotspot

Traversing seven countries of South America, the tropical Andes cover an area of 1,542,644 sq km. The vegetation type includes tropical wet and moist forests, cloud forests, grasslands and scrublands near the snowline and patches of dry forests, woodlands, cactus stands, thorn scrub and mattoral.

The region has over 30,000 plant, 570 mammal, 1,724 bird, 610 reptile, 981 amphibian and 380 freshwater fish species. The hotspot contains about a sixth of all plant life in less than 1% of land area. Unique plant species are an Andean bromelilad (Puya raimondii) that requires 100 years to mature and an endemic palm species (Parajubaea torallyi), that grows at the highest altitude of any palm on earth. Important crops like potato, tobacco and cinchona plant, which is the source of quinine originated here.

Bird endemism at 33.6% is unequaled in the world and 160 of the bird species are severely threatened. They include the blue-billed curassow (Crax alberti), Niceforo's wren (Thryothorus nicefori), Fuertes's parrot (Hapalopsittaca fuertesi), black-breasted puffleg (Eriocnemis nigrivestis) and the yellow-eared parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis). Also found here are the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), one of the largest flying birds on earth, and the worlds largest humming bird (Patagona gigas).

The flagship yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Oreonax flavicauda) believed to have been extinct is the largest endemic mammal of Peru. Other mammalian inhabitants include the mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque), the endemic spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) the vicuna (Vicugna vicugna), llama (Lama glama), the alpaca (Lama pacos) and the wild guanaco (Lama guanicoe). The region's reptiles include the primitive tree boa (Corallus enydris), an arboreal snake which has a pelvis and vestigal hind limbs, and the Magdalena river turtle (Podocnemis lewyana). The best known amphibians are the brightly coloured poison dart frogs; some of these are the most poisonous organisms on earth.

Agriculture, deforestation, construction of dams and roads, seasonal burning of forests, mining, grazing, fuelwood collection, oil exploration, invasive alien species, both plants and animals, and pollution of water by use of chemical herbicides are all threats to the biodiversity of the region.

The area under protection is about 246,871 sq km. Conservation organisations active in the region include the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, the Global Conservation Fund, World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy.

[The information has been sourced from the Conservation International website on biodiversity hotspots ( Accessed in February 2008.]

ATREE, Tel: 91-80-23530069, 91-80-23533942