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Costa Rican Ecosystems$
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Maarten Kappelle

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226121505

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226121642.001.0001

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The Montane Cloud Forests of the Cordillera de Talamanca

The Montane Cloud Forests of the Cordillera de Talamanca

(p.451) Chapter 14 The Montane Cloud Forests of the Cordillera de Talamanca
Costa Rican Ecosystems

Maarten Kappelle

University of Chicago Press

The tropical evergreen cloud forests on the slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca in Costa Rica’s southern highlands is of vital importance both as a source of drinking and irrigation water to the main cities in the Valle Central and as a bastion of many endemic species. In this chapter, the authors first summarize the current knowledge of the Cordillera de Talamanca’s physical characteristics, including climate, geology, and geomorphology. This is followed by an overview of biodiversity both at the species level and the community and ecosystem level of plants, animals, and fungi, with an emphasis on the three vegetation zones between the lower boundary of the premontane forests at 500 m to the upper limit of the upper montane oak forests at 3,100 m. The chapter provides a high-level outline of the functioning and dynamics of the ecosystems described, including forest structure and water and nutrient cycling. Finally, the authors provide a summary of the history of land use and conservation in the region.

Keywords:   Costa Rica, cloud forests, montane, Cordillera, Talamanca, ecosystem

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