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Credit: Jesse Lewis
The Páramo comprises a number of neotropical high altitude grassland ecosystems found from Costa Rica to Bolivia. Páramo ecosystems exist only in high elevations (typically over about 16,400 feet, or 5,000 meters), primarily in the upper parts of the Northern Andes Mountains. Colombia alone contains 57 percent of all the páramo by area in the world, with one of the largest areas at Sumapaz, not far from the capital city of Bogotá.
Páramo vegetation consists of tussock grasses, dwarf shrubs, cushion plants and other forms of vegetation adapted to the cold, wind and intense ultra-violet radiation found at high altitudes. The lower limits of these grasslands are typically bounded by montane cloud forest, which in the absence of human burning, slowly encroaches on páramo vegetation altering the grasslands into forest with time.