Our study area is located in the Andean foothills (between 2,500 and 4,200 meters elevation), in Arica y Parinacota District and Tarapacá District (between 17°39′S 69°47′W to 21°17′S 68°52′W). This area is dominated by canyons and gullies, interspersed with agricultural fields near villages.
The study area is characterized by high elevation shrub chaparral (height less than 0.5 meters) (Luebert & Pliscoff, 2006). The average monthly temperature varies from 0°C to 18°C (Novoa & Villaseca, 1989). The annual precipitation is 50 to 200 millimeters, 90% of which falls between December and March. This seasonality causes significant vegetation cover changes, ranging from 36 to 64% cover between dry and wet seasons (Muñoz & Bonacic, 2006).
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