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close this bookBiological Monitoring: Signals from the Environment (GTZ, 1991)
close this folderConcept for a biological monitoring study:
close this folder2. Study area: the central Andean plateau
View the document2.1 Location and extension
View the document2.2 Natural features
View the document2.3 Population
View the document2.4 Agriculture
View the document2.5 Mining and industry
View the document2.6 Special aspects of environmental contaminants, their effects on living organisms and ecosystems, and their detection by means of bioindicators on the Andean plateau

2.1 Location and extension

The great mountain system of the Andes extends the full length of the western part of South America, being nearly 8000 km long and occupying an area of over 2 million km2. To the west, it drops off steeply into the narrow coastal plains along the Pacific. The eastern cordillera, by contrast, is partially fringed by hilly country which merges into landscapes consisting of extensive basins and river systems.

The cent/al Andes comprise that part where, approx. between 130 S and 23° S, the mountain ranges broaden to an overall width of 400 km. The central Andes entend from southern Peru across parts of Bolivia and Chile all the way to northern Argentina. In the following, those major attributes of this region are described which are of relevance for the topic under discussion.