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Capturing Processes and Interactions of the Andes Páramo Region (Paperback) (Veronica G. Minaya
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In the Andean region grasslands are known as páramos and they have been widely recognized for sustaining biodiversity, carbon sequestration and water storage. The páramos have become vulnerable not only to climate change but also to land use change due to e.g. agriculture, grazing and burning. Usually these changes are associated with socio-economic factors driving communities to aspire higher income generation. Unfortunately, most of recent studies are limited to individual concepts of specific research areas without including a comprehensive ecosystem analysis that includes adequate assessment of ecosystem services that the páramos provide.
This integrated research includes (i) extensive fieldwork and statistical analysis to identify the differentiation of vegetation physiology and catchment characterization along an altitudinal gradient; (ii) selection and testing of a biogeochemical model (BIOME-BGC) and a process-oriented hydrological model (TACD); (iii) identification and quantification of the ecosystem services provided by the páramos.
The ecosystem services were assessed by using indicators for water regulation and carbon sequestration in the páramo ecosystem. This research contributes to the understanding of the interactions, feedbacks and functioning of the páramo ecosystem with a case study in northern Ecuador as a step towards an effective ecosystem management plan.