Tierra helada (Spanish for "frozen land"), also known as tierra nevada (Spanish for "snowy land"), is a term used in Latin America to refer to the highest places found within the Andes mountains.
The tierra helada comprises the montane grasslands and shrublands, sunis, punas and páramos between the tree line and the snow line. The term tierra helada is accurate from a climatological standpoint, as its land is indeed "frozen", situated above the snow line. In the northern Andes, the latter is located at an altitude of approximately 15,000 ft (or about 4,500 m).
The Peruvian geographer Javier Pulgar Vidal (Altitudinal zonation) used following altitudes:
- 1,000 m (3,300 ft) as the border between the tropical rainforest and the subtropical cloud forest
- 2,300 m (7,500 ft) m as the end of the subtropical cloud forest (Yunga fluvial)
- 3,500 m (11,500 ft) m as the tree line
- 4,800 m (15,700 ft) m as the puna end
- Altitudinal zonation
- Köppen climate classification
- Life zones of Peru
- Tierra caliente, ecoregion border: 2,500 ft or 1,000 m (Javier Pulgar Vidal)
- Tierra templada, ecoregion border: 6,000 ft or 2,300 m (Javier Pulgar Vidal)
- Tierra fría, ecoregion border, tree line: 12,000 ft or 3,500 m (Javier Pulgar Vidal)
- Brigitta Schütt (2005); Azonale Böden und Hochgebirgsböden
- Zech, W. and Hintermaier-Erhard, G. (2002); Böden der Welt – Ein Bildatlas, Heidelberg, p. 98.
- Christopher Salter, Joseph Hobbs, Jesse Wheeler and J. Trenton Kostbade (2005); Essentials of World Regional Geography 2nd Edition. NY: Harcourt Brace. p.464-465.
- Pulgar Vidal, Javier: Geografía del Perú; Las Ocho Regiones Naturales del Perú. Edit. Universo S.A., Lima 1979. First Edition (his dissertation of 1940): Las ocho regiones naturales del Perú, Boletín del Museo de historia natural „Javier Prado", n° especial, Lima, 1941, 17, pp. 145-161.
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