- A potential geoconservation map of the Las Lagunas area, northern Peru
- Environmental Conservation
- Volume | Issue number
- 37 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
The Andean páramo ecosystems host geodiversity of global importance, but also have important societal functions, including agricultural production and delivery of water to people and industry. Páramo geo-ecosystems are highly susceptible to environmental degradation because of their alpine relief, extreme climate and fragile soils. In contrast to other parts of the world, geodiversity assessment studies in the Andes are scarce. A geodiversity assessment method was adapted and used to produce a potential geoconservation map of the Andean páramo. The Las Lagunas area (Cajamarca, Northern Peru) has a rich archive of climate proxy data and landscape reconstruction, and plays a key role in the functioning of regional geo-ecosystems. Undisturbed proxies for climate change are contained in four Late-Glacial recessional complexes of its former local ice cap and in pollen records preserved in the post-glacial peat cover. These new findings were used to develop a refined chronostratigraphy of the Late-Glacial warming period in the Andes of Northern Peru. Geo-ecosystem functions (for example water and carbon storage) depend on the environmental vulnerability and disturbance of the landforms and deposits. Therefore, potential geoconservation areas that combine a high scientific value and environmental vulnerability with a low disturbance and low frequency of occurrence should be prioritized for geoconservation. Such a strategy should also optimize sustainable use of resources and development of these areas. Mountainous countries like Peru require future management strategies that recognize and incorporate potential geoconservation information in regional planning, to prevent unnecessary loss of irreplaceable soils, climate proxies and geo-ecosystem functions upon future changes in land use and climate.
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