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p. 434. Living in a vertical worldlocked

  • Martin F. Price


‘Living in a vertical world’ describes the characteristic zones of mountains; plant and animal life above the treeline; mountain forests; valley floors and agriculture; and mountain settlements. Alexander von Humboldt first characterized mountain altitudinal zones by their vegetation, climate, soils, and human uses: the lowland tierra caliente (below 900 metres in the Andes); the cooler tierra templada (montane and subalpine: 900−1,800 metres); the tierra fria (alpine: 1,800−3,600 metres), with a distinct cold season; the tierra helada (sub-nival: up to 4,600 metres), with snow for much of the year; and the tierra nevada (nival: above 4,600 metres), covered by snow for most of the year, or glaciated.

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