Tierra templada (Spanish for temperate land) is a pseudoclimatological term used in Latin America to refer to places which are either located in the tropics at a moderately high elevation or are marginally outside the astronomical tropics, producing a somewhat cooler overall climate than that found in the tropical lowlands, the zone of which is known as the tierra caliente.
In countries situated close to the equator, the tierra templada typically commences at an altitude of approximately 750 meters (roughly 2,500 feet), and extends to about 1,850 meters (or 6,000 feet), where the still cooler tierra fría begins. These thresholds become lower as the latitude increases. The Peruvian geographer Javier Pulgar Vidal used following altitudes:
- 1,000 m as the border between the tropical rainforest and the subtropical cloud forest
- 2,300 m as the end of the subtropical cloud forest (Yunga fluvial)
- 3,500 m as the treeline
- 4,800 m as the puna end
Despite the English translation of its name, the tierra templada is not considered "temperate" by climatologists, for most of the areas so designated have average temperatures in their coldest months of above 18°C (64.4°F), thus making them tropical under climate classification schemes such as that of Vladimir Köppen. In the aforementioned scheme, many locations within the tierra templada are sometimes designated Afb or Awb, with the b denoting the fact that the warmest month has an average temperature of below 22°C (71.6°F), meaning that all twelve months of the year have averages of between 18°C and 22°C. Chinchina, Colombia, altitude 1,360 m, is an example of a place which would be labelled Afb, as it has abundant rainfall year-round, while the climate of San José, Costa Rica, altitude 1,161 m, would fall under Awb since the latter city's rainfall regime consists of a wet summer and a dry winter. The "temperate" moniker in Spanish stems from these year-round warm temperatures that are not too hot (Tierra caliente) nor become too cold (Tierra fría). Various cities in this range have been nicknamed City of Eternal Spring, most notably Cuernavaca, Mexico.
In the tierra templada project pat, coffee is grown extensively as a cash crop, with grains such as wheat and corn being cultivated for subsistence purposes - in contrast to the warmer tierra caliente, where tropical fruits predominate.
- Köppen climate classification
- Altitudinal zonation
- Tierra caliente, ecoregion border, 2,500 ft or 1,000 m (Javier Pulgar Vidal)
- Tierra fría, ecoregion border, 6,000 ft or 2,300 m (Javier Pulgar Vidal)
- Tierra helada, ecoregion border, treeline: 12,000 ft or 3,500 m (Javier Pulgar Vidal)
- Hill station
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- 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.