The Andes Mountain chain (Andean Cordillera
) extends the length of western South America, virtually unbroken for 7500 kms. These mountains are the dominant physiographic feature of the South American continent and reach an average height of 3500-4500 meters. As such, they form a formidable east-west barrier for plants and animals and contain an extaordinary variety of environments. The complex interactions between the mountain chain and its climate produces a complex mosiac of vegetation patterns. In northern Peru and coastal Peru and Chile, our group has been conducting floristic inventories and describing new species of flowering plants. These regions have long been recognized as primary centers of plant diversity and endemism for the Andes.
Within the Environments section, all of the major habitats of northern Peru and coastal Peru and Chile can be reached by visiting the above categories.