The Bofedales, Andean wetlands that deserve protection

006The Bofedales are wetlands of height and are considered native grasslands from the Andean region, little extensive and with permanent moisture.

These “unpublished” wetlands exist on the plains of the central Andes, at the foot of mountains and glaciers, from northern Argentina andthrough Bolivia, Peru and Chile. This ecosystem is still poorly understood yet may also be affected by global warming and the ignorance of its importance, factors that attempt against its survival.

The flora that inhabits the bofedal is called “hydrophytic plant.” The bofedales are formed in areas such as the Andean massifs located onthe 3,800 meter high, wherein the plains stored water from rains, melting glaciers and mainly surface outcrops of groundwater.

Under a green layer that resembles grass, the bofedales keep a biodiversity where so far only about 52 known species of plants, plus 60 species of aquatic fauna and flora.

They are characterized by its vegetation similar to a cushion and for its structure, which could be compared with a sponge, because they arecollectors of water.

Therefore they are always green, as they form eyes of water and even retain underground streams, important water resources in the aridandean highlands.

They develop overcoming year after year in a way of layers, where the dead parts of the plant will form a soil rich in organic matter and reach a depth still not established.

In the Titicaca Plateau, a vast plain of South America located at an altitude of 3,600 meters covering the western part of Bolivia, northernChile, southern Peru and northern Argentina, there is an area where this ecosystem may remain hidden and lacking proper investigations topreserve its condition.

The majority deserve the Ramsar category, name follows a convention on wetlands of international importance which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and its resources.

There are some important Reserves in the region to protect the bofedales, many have Ramsar category, the rest is threatened by grazingrelated to llamas or alpacas breeding.

In general, bofedales protected by the Ramsar Convention are distributed in the Andean region as follows:

Chile: Salar de Surire, Salar de Huasca, Salar de Tara, Soncor Hydrological System, Black Francisco Lagoon and Santa Rosa Lagoon.

Argentina: the Pozuelos Lagoon, Vilama Lagoons and the Provincial Reserve Brava Lagoon.

Bolivia: Colorada Lagoon, Titicaca Lake (Bolivian sector), Tajzara Basin and Poopó and Uru Uru Lakes.

Peru: Titicaca Lake (Peruvian sector), Junin Lake, Indian Lagoon and the Spanish Dam and bofedales of the Salinas Lagoon.

Ecuador: Lagoon System for the Cajas National Park.

Colombia: La Cocha Lagoon.

However, not all of these ecosystems benefiting from this certification that guarantees their protection. There are many threats to their preservation, especially those that represent the man and climate change.

By Gustavo Carrasquel | ANCA 24

About ANCA24canada

Environmental, Ecologists and Conservationist news from the Americas
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