Plant communities and soils of the central Andes of Peru



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Texas Tech University


Vegetation and site data were collected in 1981 on a high elevation (4100 m) study area of approximately 17,700 ha surrounding Corpacancha in the central Andes of Peru. Data collected included basal cover and relative species composition of plants, soil profile descriptions, and chemical and physical analyses of the soil. Topographic data also were collected at each sample location.

Reciprocal averaging was used to classify and arrange the data along prevalent environmental gradients. To simplify analysis, the data were separated and analyzed as mid-grass and tall-grass communities. The most important factors determining community composition and distribution appeared to be topographic position, soil texture, and soil depth, as they influence soil moisture relations.

The plant communities classified and described were the (1) Festuca rigescens - Azorella crenata, (2) Festuca dolichophylla-Carex ecuadorica - Calamagrostis vicunarum, (3) Festuca dolichophylla - Poa gilgiana, (4) Calamagrostis brevifolia - Festuca dolichophylla, (5) Plantago tubulosa - Hypochoeris taraxacoides, (6) Poa gileiana - Festuca dolichophylla - Calarrigrostis brevifolia, (7) Calar.agrostis nacrophylla - Festuca dolichophylla, (8) Calamagrostis recta, (9) Stipa brachyphylla - Calanagrostis recta, and (10) Festuca distichovaginata - Stipa brachyphylla. Site characteristics also were described for each plant cor.r.'.unity.