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Volume 15 (2014 / 2015) Article 5
An introduction to the bofedales of the Peruvian High Andes
by M.S. Maldonado Fonkén
Published online: 03.12.2014
In Peru, the term “bofedales” is used to describe areas of wetland vegetation that may have underlying peat layers. These areas are a key resource for traditional land management at high altitude. Because they retain water in the upper basins of the cordillera, they are important sources of water and forage for domesticated livestock as well as biodiversity hotspots. This article is based on more than six years’ work on bofedales in several regions of Peru. The concept of bofedal is introduced, the typical plant communities are identified and the associated wild mammals, birds and amphibians are described. Also, the most recent studies of peat and carbon storage in bofedales are reviewed. Traditional land use since prehispanic times has involved the management of water and livestock, both of which are essential for maintenance of these ecosystems. The status of bofedales in Peruvian legislation and their representation in natural protected areas and Ramsar sites is outlined. Finally, the main threats to their conservation (overgrazing, peat extraction, mining and development of infrastructure) are identified.
Maldonado Fonkén, M.S. (2014): An introduction to the bofedales of the Peruvian High Andes. Mires and Peat 15: Art. 5. (Online: http://www.mires-and-peat.net/pages/volumes/map15/map1505.php)
IMCG and IPS acknowledge the work of the reviewers.