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Highland Ecosystems (1500- >3500)

There are several life zone in the country. Most of them are separated by the amount rainfall receive, creating different habitats for a variety of species. Life zones: Lower Montane Moist Forest, Lower Montane Wet Forest, Lower Montane Rain Forest (so called Cloud Forest); Montane Rainforest, Subalpine Pluvial Paramo.

What are the Higland Ecosystems?

The highland forests are evergreen. Here is where the impressive oaks are found.  The plant life is abundant and literally grows everywhere: on the ground, on the tree trunks, in the canopy and even on the electricity cables along the road. The Montane Rainforest also includes some bamboos that grow with the shrubs, and a special kind of vegetation related to the Sphagnum mosses (called “turberas” in Spanish). These mosses create a very acidic environment where only few plants can grow, but these places absorb a lot of water and are very important in maintaining the underground water reservoirs.

Where are the Highland Ecosystems located?

These forests can be found on the mountain slopes and vary in the intensity of rainfall. The subalpine paramo occurs only in the highest peaks of the Talamanca Range. Specifically, LMMF occurs in  the Meseta Central; Lower Montane Wet Forest in the Pacific slopes of the mountains; Lower Montane Rain Forest occur at all mountain slopes at the elevation where the clouds form, Montane Rainforest occur only in the highest elevation of the Central and the Talamanca Ranges.

Protected Areas:

Northern Region: Guanacaste NP, Rincón de la Vieja NP, Miravalles PZ, Tenorio NP, Arenal NP, Juan Castro Blanco NP, Monteverde PZ.

Central Region: Volcán Poás NP,Volcán Irazú NP, Volcán Turrialba NP, Tapantí NP.

Southern Region: Los Santos FR, Chirripó NP, La Amistad IP.

What can be found in the Highland Ecosystems:

Great endemism (organism found exclusively in Costa Rica)

Plants: oaks,

Animals: Quetzal, abundance of Hummingbirds;

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