Land and Resources, Plants and Animals
The plant life of the three main geographical regions varies widely. The vast, fertile montana contains a rich profusion of trees, plants, and jungle vines, including mahogany, cedar, rubber, and cinchona trees, sarsaparilla and vanilla plants, and a variety of exotic tropical flowers. The rugged sierra supports a relatively sparse plant life. Sierra vegetation is largely xerophytic—that is, adapted to survival on a restricted supply of water. Such growths include mesquite, cactus, scrub and fodder grasses, and eucalyptus plants. The dry, sandy reaches of the coastal plain support mainly desert vegetation, such as shrubs, grasses, and tuberous plants.
The wildlife of coastal Peru is limited in number and variety. The coastal plain and offshore islands support gulls and terns and some albatrosses, but little other wildlife except lizards, insects, tarantulas, and scorpions. Peruvian ocean waters abound in anchovy, pilchard, haddock, sole, mackerel, smelt, flounder, lobster, shrimp, and other marine species. In the sierra are found the llama, alpaca, vicuna, chinchilla, and huanaco. Birds of the region include the giant condor, robin, phoebe, flycatcher, finch, partridge, duck, and goose. Lake Titicaca and other sierran bodies of water teem with fish. Animals of the tropical montana include the jaguar, cougar, armadillo, peccary, tapir, anteater, several dozen species of monkey, alligator, turtle, and a variety of snakes and insects; among the birds are the parrot, the flamingo, and other tropical species.