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Los Andes de Mérida, una nueva subprovincia fitogeográfica de la provincia de los Andes del Norte

Author(s): Ricardi, Mario | Gaviria, Juan | Estrada, Javier

Journal: Plantula
ISSN 1316-1547

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 41;
Date: 2001;
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Keywords: Phytogeography | North Andean Province | Merida | Southamerica | Neotropic.

The Andean Cordillera belongs to two different florístics kingdoms in the Takhtajan´s phytogeographical system of clasification: To the south the antartic or Holartic Kingdom and towards the North of Chile the Neotropical one. This last it is subdivided as well in two provinces: the Central Andes, from the North of Chile to the North of Peru, and the Northern Andes from the North of Peru to Venezuela. This one comprising the vegetal formations above the limit of the subtropical forests including in the upper altitudinal belts the Puna, the Jalca and the Paramo. Such province possesses floristical, vegetational, geological and climatical characteristics heterogeneous, for which reason many authors have subdivided it in diverse regions attending to diverse criteria. As a result of the phytogeographical comparison of the flora of the Superpáramos of the Andes of Mérida along the Andes, it was found that 37% of its taxa were determined as propious of these formations, emphasizing the Espeletiinae as quasi endemics (including the presence of endemics genera like Coespeletia) and Helleria (Festuca s. l.), in addition to the presence of other endemics genera of lower vegetational belts like Ruilopezia and Carramboa. The singularity of the Andes of Merida due to the floristic peculiarity of the altimontanous vegetational belt is emphasized with the floristic peculiarities of the montane forests in which more than 143 angiosperm species, that reach their limit of distribution in Tamá and are found in Colombia and more to the South, are absent in the Andes of Merida beyond the north of the tectonic depression of the Táchira. This florístic singularity corresponds as well with paleoecollogical, climatics fisiographics an geological criteria. For this reason the definition of a new phytogeographic subprovince named Subprovince of the Andes of Merida as a subunit of the North Andes Province is justified. This one comprise the vegetal formations above 1.500 m a.s.l., lower limit of the montane forests, until the limit of perpetual snows, between the tectonics depressions of the Táchira and Barquisimeto.

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