Vegetation and climate change in the Eastern Cordillera of Ecuador the example of the Páramo de Papallacta:
The elevational levels of climate and vegetation of the inner tropics are demonstrated using the Páramo de Papallacta in the Eastern Cordillera of Ecuador as an example. Since the peak of the last ice age, this landscape has been subject to constant change, both due to natural climate fluctuations and due to human interventions. Historical documents show that the former landscape was completely covered with forest up to the potential forest line (approx. 4,100 m) before human settlement. The forest islands within the grass páramo between 3,700 and 4,100 m, which are distributed today in a mosaic style, document the influence of fire by their sharp canopy margins. The current global changes in temperature and precipitation are not without consequences for people in the tropics. Their effects are visibly reflected in the decline of tropical glaciers that have been observed since the early 1980s. Those are an important source of water for agriculture and people in the metropolises in the Andes.