Science et changements planétaires / Sécheresse


Deserts and flora richness: the lomas of Southern Peru, a potential to be preserved Volume 13, issue 4, Décembre 2002


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Laboratoire Dynamique de la biodiversité (CNRS/UPS), 29, rue Jeanne-Marvig, BP 4349, 31055 Toulouse Cedex 4, France.
  • Page(s) : 215-25
  • Published in: 2003

There are very few studies on the South American coastal desert. The aim of this study is to characterize the lomas vegetation through its flora and physiognomy and to find how they may correlate with environmental conditions. To that end, 50 field surveys were made on 10 x 10 m plots for each new morphological vegetation type, based on a stratified sampling provided by aerial photographs and SPOT imagery analysis. Thirty-two families, 80 genuses and 98 angiosperm species were registered in these 50 field surveys. The richness of the flora is rather high for a desert and is unquestionably related to frequent fogs that allow some ephemeral plants to temporarily grow or perennial species to live, the latter developing their life cycle during this fog period. The flora is fairly rich and plant communities are rather diversified. Although in this region there is scarcely any rain or not rain at all, a rather high species diversity allows us to state that the Southern Peruvian lomas are more like semi-deserts than real deserts.