Tropical Andes
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Tropical Andes

The Tropical Andes is the most biologically diverse of all the hotspots and contains about one-sixth of all plant life on the planet, including 30,000 species of vascular plants. The region also has the largest variety of amphibian, bird and mammal species, and takes second place to the Mesoamerica Hotspot for reptile diversity.

Human communities, including the great empire of the Incas, have lived in the Tropical Andes for thousands of years. Because the Inter-Andean valleys are the most hospitable to people, they are also the most degraded parts of the hotspot, with less than 10 percent of their original habitat remaining.

At the other end of the spectrum, some of the least degraded parts of the hotspot include isolated regions in Venezuela and Colombia, and the eastern slope of the Andes in Bolivia, Peru and parts of Ecuador. In Peru and Bolivia particularly, time still exists to establish reserves in areas of intact primary forests.

Animals of the
Tropical Andes

Hotspot Map

However, the effects of a large and growing population continue to threaten biodiversity throughout the Tropical Andes. Several cities with millions of inhabitants, including Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia; and Quito, Ecuador, are located within the hotspot and continue to expand as their populations grow.

Threats to the hotspot include: population pressure; dams for irrigation; mining; overexploitation of species; hunting and illegal trade.

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