Life zones of Peru

When the Spanish arrived, they divided Peru into three main regions: the coastal region (11.6% of Peru), that is bounded by the Pacific Ocean; the highlands (28.1% of Peru), that is located on the Andean Heights, and the jungle, that is located on the Amazonian Jungle (Climate of Peru). But Javier Pulgar Vidal (es), a geographer who studied the biogeographic reality of the Peruvian territory for a long time, proposed the creation of eight Natural Regions.[1][2] In 1941, he presented his thesis "Las Ocho Regiones Naturales del Perú" at the III General Assembly of the Pan-American Institute of Geography and History.

These eight Peruvian regions are:

Example: Andes 10°S

See also Altitudinal zonation

Classic version, Amazonic side

Javier Pulgar Vidal's version

The Peruvian geographer Javier Pulgar Vidal divided Peru in 8 regions (traditionally, it was costa, sierra and selva):

Map from República del Perú - Instituto Geográfico Nacional

  • Chala (West, Pacific Coast) 0– 500 m
  • Omagua (Lowland jungle or Selva baja, Amazonic rainforest) 80– 400 m
  • Rupa-Rupa (Highland jungle, Selva alta) 400– 1,000 m
  • Yunga (Aymaran for "Warm Lands", Cloud forest)
    • Loma-Vegetation (West, "Yunga costal" at the north of Peru) 450– 600 m
    • Fluvial Yungas (East, "Yunga fluvial") 1,000- 2,300 m
  • Quechua (East, High valleys) 2,300– 3,500 m
  • Suni (or Jalca or Sallqa too, high plateaus and cliffs) 3,500– 4,100 m
  • Puna (means "mountain top") 4,100– 4,800 m
  • Janca (means white) above 4,800 m, permafrost, rocks, snow and ice[1]


Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests

Montane grasslands and shrublands

Deserts and xeric shrublands

Overview - Amazonic side

Estimated temperatures - Continental Divide


  • Region, altitude (m); avg annual precipitation (mm); avg annual temperature (°C);
  • Peruvian Highland Rainforest (Tropical climate), Cloud forest (Subtropical climate) and Temperate forest (Temperate climate);
  • Cusco reference, estimated avg annual temperature (°C, Lowland Rainforest or Selva baja gets more rain, so it is more cloudy, so it is cooler);
  • Snow line reference, Humboldt cold current/ Pacific climate influence, estimated avg annual temperature (°C).[22]
    • Cuzco, Peru; 3,249 m; avg annual temperature 12.5 °C; avg annual precipitation 736 mm.
    • Lima, Peru; 30 m; avg annual temperature 19.2 °C (fog influence); avg annual precipitation 15 mm.
AltitudeWest - Pacific sideEast - Amazonian side
Highland Rainforest or Selva alta400 m -26.5 °C
Loma-Vegetation500 mabout 21.1 °C -
Cloud forest or Fluvial Yunga1,000 m -23.5 °C
Quechua - Montane Valleys2,300 m -17.2 °C
Amazonian Tree line of Coniferae: 10 °Cabout 3,500 m -about 10 °C
Mountain pass influence4,100 mabout 3.4 °C(about 7.1 °C)
Vegetation endabout 4,800 mabout 0.0 °C -
Snow lineabout 5,000 mabout -1.0 °C -

Example: Kallawaya Region, Bolivia

Altitudinal zonation: Kallawaya Region, around Charazani, Bolivia (border to Peru).

  • Glacier
    • Altitude: 5,900- 5,200 m, Annual mean temperature: below 0 °C, Agriculture: none
  • High Mountain Desert, Werneria ciliolata on scree
    • Altitude: 5,200- 5,000 m, Annual mean temperature: below 0 °C - 0 °C, Agriculture: none.
  • Grass Zone
    • Calamagrostis minima Steppe,
      • Altitude: 5,000- 4,600 m, Annual mean temperature: 0- 3.5 °C, Farming: alpacas, lamas.
    • Pycnophyllum Steppe,
      • Altitude: 4,600- 4,300 m, Annual mean temperature: 3.5- 7.5 °C, Farming: alpacas, lamas.
    • Aciachne Humid Grassland,
      • Altitude: 4,300- 3,900 m, Annual mean temperature: 7.5- 10.0 °C, Farming: alpacas, lamas, pigs; Agriculture: bitter potatoes, (oca), (oat); Fallow land: more than 8 years.
  • Shrub Zone
    • Satureja Shrub (westslope), Baccharis pentandii Shrub, with Berberis (eastslope),
      • Altitude: 3,900- 3,600 m, Annual mean temperature: 10.0- 11.5 °C, Farming: sheep; Agriculture: potatoes, oca, ulluco, barley; Fallow land: 3 to 4 years.
    • Mutisia Shrub (westslope), Baccharis pentlandii Shrub, with Siphocampylus (eastslope),
      • Altitude: 3,600- 2,700 m, Annual mean temperature: 11.5- 16.5 °C, Farming: sheep, cattle; Agriculture: wheat, (barley), peas, beans, maize up to 3,500 m with crop rotation.
    • Kaunia longipetiolata Shrub,
    • Highland Rainforest,
      • Altitude: below 2,700 m, Annual mean temperature: over 17.0 °C, Farming: cattle; Agriculture: tropical fruits, oranges, coffee, coca at around 2,000 m.[23]

See also


  1. Pulgar Vidal, Javier: Geografía del Perú; Las Ocho Regiones Naturales del Perú. Edit. Universo S.A., Lima 1979. First Edition (his dissertation of 1940): Las ocho regiones naturales del Perú, Boletín del Museo de Historia Natural „Javier Prado“, n° especial, Lima, 1941, 17, pp. 145-161.
  2. Benavides Estrada, Juan (1999); Geografía del Perú 2do año de Secuandaria. Lima: Escuela Nueva.
  3. Brigitta Schütt (2005); Azonale Böden und Hochgebirgsböden
  4. Zech, W. and Hintermaier-Erhard, G. (2002); Böden der Welt – Ein Bildatlas, Heidelberg, p. 98.
  5. Christopher Salter, Joseph Hobbs, Jesse Wheeler and J. Trenton Kostbade (2005); Essentials of World Regional Geography 2nd Edition. NY: Harcourt Brace. p.464-465.
  6. Middle America: Altitudinal Zonation Archived 2009-07-24 at the Wayback Machine
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2013-10-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Maps of the Cordillera Blanca - Peru
  8. WWF Global 200: World Map of 14 Terrestrial Biomes and 867 Ecoregions
  9. "Bolivian Yungas". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  10. "Peruvian Yungas". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  11. "Southwest Amazon moist forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  12. "Central Andean dry puna". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  13. "Central Andean puna". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  14. "Central Andean wet puna". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  15. "Atacama desert". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  16. "Sechura desert". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  17. "Gurupa varzea". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  18. "Monte Alegre varzea". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  19. "Purus varzea". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  20. "Iquitos varzea". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  21. "Central Andean wet puna". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  22. Klimadiagramme weltweit - Europa
  23. Seibert, Paul; Farbatlas Südamerika, Verlag Eugen Ulmer, 1996.
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