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The Central Andes of Peru: a key area for the conservation of Polylepis forest biodiversity

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Polylepis forests are threatened high Andean ecosystems that harbour unique species of flora and fauna. However, there is little information on the avifauna associated with these forests in the Central Andes of Peru. We evaluated 12 bird communities in the Junín, Lima and Huancavelica departments of Peru and recorded richness-abundance data that were used to perform an analysis of α- and γ-diversity using Hill numbers. In addition, we built two species matrices (presence-absence data) for three previously identified key bird conservation areas and our study area, first with the species that regularly inhabit the Polylepis forests and second with the species of conservation interest. We found that the Polylepis forests of the Central Andes of Peru have a high diversity of birds. Some of these birds have a strong affinity for Polylepis forests, and another group is typical of the tree line of the Yungas. Moreover, we identified a unique set of 27 species of conservation interest in this region. Since the Central Andes of Peru also harbour three endemic species of Polylepis, it should be considered an important area for the conservation of high Andean biodiversity.


Die Zentralanden Perus sind ein Schlüsselgebiet für den Schutz der Biodiversität von Polylepis -Wäldern

Polylepis-Wälder sind bedrohte Ökosysteme in den Anden, die eine einzigartige Flora und Fauna beherbergen. Allerdings ist wenig über die Avifauna dieser Wälder in den zentralen Anden Perus bekannt. Wir haben zwölf Vogelgemeinschaften in den Departaments Junín, Lima und Huancavelica in Peru untersucht und Daten über Artenzahlen und Abundanzen erhoben, um Analysen der α- und γ-Diversität anhand von Hill-Zahlen durchzuführen. Zudem haben wir zwei Matrizen des Vorkommens von Arten (Anwesenheit-Abwesenheit) für die drei bereits bekannten Schlüsselgebiete für den Schutz von Vögeln sowie unserem Gebiet erstellt, einerseits mit den Arten, die regelmässig in Polylepis-Wäldern vorkommen, und andererseits nur mit den Arten, die schutzbedürftig sind. Wir konnten feststellen, dass die Polylepis-Wälder der Zentralanden Peru seine hohe Diversität an Vögeln haben, von denen einige eine hohe Affinität zu Polylepis-Wäldern aufweisen und anderen, die typischer für die Waldgrenze der Yungas sind. Wir konnten 27 besonders schutzbedürftige Vogelarten in der Region feststellen. Da die zentralen Anden Perus zudem drei endemische Polylepis-Baumarten aufweisen, sollten sie als ein wichtiges Gebiet für den Schutz andiner Biodiversität anerkannt werden.

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We thank the Servicio Nacional Forestal y de Fauna Silvestre and the Servicio Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas por el Estado for providing authorizations for research under R. D. G. no. 037-2017-SERFOR/DGGSPFFS and R. D. 023-2016-SERNANP-DGANP, respectively. Thanks to Sharon-Rose Alonzo for reviewing the English language of the article.


This research was funded by the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Tecnológica-CONCYTEC, project 149-2015-FONDECYT-DE.

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Harold Rusbelth Quispe-Melgar and Fressia Nathalie Ames-Martínez conceptualised and analysed the data; Harold Rusbelth Quispe-Melgar, Wendy Carolay Navarro Romo, Fressia Nathalie Ames-Martínez and Vladimir Camel performed the fieldwork; C. Steven Sevillano-Ríos, Michael Kessler and Jon Fjeldså supervised and orientated the study; all the authors were responsible for discussing the results and writing the article.

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Correspondence to Harold Rusbelth Quispe-Melgar.

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Quispe-Melgar, H.R., Sevillano-Ríos, C.S., Navarro Romo, W.C. et al. The Central Andes of Peru: a key area for the conservation of Polylepis forest biodiversity. J Ornithol 161, 217–228 (2020).

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