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Future Climate Change Renders Unsuitable Conditions for Paramo Ecosystems in Colombia

Department of Physical Geography, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Stockholm University, SE-106 91, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
Department of Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Universidad del Rosario, Kr 26 No 63B-48, Bogotá, CO 111221, USA
Baltic Sea Centre, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8373;
Received: 27 August 2020 / Revised: 7 October 2020 / Accepted: 7 October 2020 / Published: 12 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Watershed Modelling and Management for Sustainability)
Paramo ecosystems are tropical alpine grasslands, located above 3000 m.a.s.l. in the Andean mountain range. Their unique vegetation and soil characteristics, in combination with low temperature and abundant precipitation, create the most advantageous conditions for regulating and storing surface and groundwater. However, increasing temperatures and changing patterns of precipitation due to greenhouse-gas-emission climate change are threatening these fragile environments. In this study, we used regional observations and downscaled data for precipitation and minimum and maximum temperature during the reference period 1960–1990 and simulations for the future period 2041–2060 to study the present and future extents of paramo ecosystems in the Chingaza National Park (CNP), nearby Colombia’s capital city, Bogotá. The historical data were used for establishing upper and lower precipitation and temperature boundaries to determine the locations where paramo ecosystems currently thrive. Our results found that increasing mean monthly temperatures and changing precipitation will render 39 to 52% of the current paramo extent in CNP unsuitable for these ecosystems during the dry season, and 13 to 34% during the wet season. The greatest loss of paramo area will occur during the dry season and for the representative concentration pathway (RCP) scenario 8.5, when both temperature and precipitation boundaries are more prone to be exceeded. Although our initial estimates show the future impact on paramos and the water security of Bogotá due to climate change, complex internal and external interactions in paramo ecosystems make it essential to study other influencing climatic parameters (e.g., soil, topography, wind, etc.) apart from temperature and precipitation. View Full-Text
Keywords: paramo; climate change; water resources; Colombia; RCP paramo; climate change; water resources; Colombia; RCP
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cresso, M.; Clerici, N.; Sanchez, A.; Jaramillo, F. Future Climate Change Renders Unsuitable Conditions for Paramo Ecosystems in Colombia. Sustainability 2020, 12, 8373.

AMA Style

Cresso M, Clerici N, Sanchez A, Jaramillo F. Future Climate Change Renders Unsuitable Conditions for Paramo Ecosystems in Colombia. Sustainability. 2020; 12(20):8373.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cresso, Matilda, Nicola Clerici, Adriana Sanchez, and Fernando Jaramillo. 2020. "Future Climate Change Renders Unsuitable Conditions for Paramo Ecosystems in Colombia" Sustainability 12, no. 20: 8373.

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