Red Subtropical de Parcelas Permanentes (RedSPP)

 The RedSPP is a system of permanent forest monitoring plots that studies long-term dynamics of the subtropical mountain forests of northwestern Argentina (i.e. Jujuy, Salta and Tucumán) in a context of global change. These forests are also known as Yungas.

Funding: FONCYT, CONICET, UNT, National Science Foundation (NSF), ReForLan (European Community), COSUDE (Swiss Agency), CONDESAN (Consorcio para el desarrollo sostenible de los Andes).

Starting date: 2003

Responsible researchers:

Ricardo Grau, Agustina Malizia, Cecilia Blundo
Instituto de Ecología Regional (IER), UNT - CONICET

Lucio Malizia
Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Nacional de Jujuy

The Network of permanent subtropical plots (Red Subtropical de Parcelas Permanentes, RedSPP) is an initiative managed by the Instituto de Ecología Regional (IER), Universidad Nacional de Jujuy (UNJu) and Fundación ProYungas (NGO dedicated to the sustainable development and conservation of the Yungas). RedSPP is a network of permanent forest monitoring plots that studies the long term dynamics of the subtropical mountain forests (Yungas) of northwestern Argentina in a context of global change. It consists of 78 permanent plots (71.6 ha), distributed between 22 and 27.5°S and between 396 and 2304 m. a.s.l. in the provinces of Salta, Jujuy and Tucumán. Within each plot all trees with a diameter greater than or equal to 10 cm are mapped, marked with a numbered aluminum tag, measured and identified to species level. Most plots have been re-measured at least once, ideally every 5 years, although the measurement period varies in some cases depending on available funds and logistics. The oldest plots were established in 1991-1992, with the average installation date being 2003. 

So far, the RedSPP has generated information on more than 40,000 trees belonging to 209 species. It is a useful tool for understanding the underlying factors, processes and mechanisms that shape the structure, composition, demography, and diversity of the Yungas. In addition, it provides valuable data to understand the responses of these forests to global environmental changes, including climate change, land use change, and invasion by exotic species. Finally, it may contribute to the development of strategies of conservation and sustainable management.


Tucumán: There are a total of 33 permanent plots (26.6 ha) established in the Yungas of the province which cover two altitudinal forest levels present in the region: Upper and Lower Montane forests. Twenty-six (26) plots, varying in surface area between 0.2 and 1 ha, are located within Parque Sierra de San Javier, which belongs to UNT, along an altitudinal gradient ranging from 700 to1860 m. a.s.l.. They represent forests with different successional ages and composition (i.e. some plots are dominated by exotic species such as Ligustrum lucidum and Gleditsia triacanthos). The remaining seven (7) plots are located within other provincial reserves, such as Los Sosa, La Florida, Santa Ana and in Parque Percy Hill. 

Salta-Jujuy: There are 45 permanent plots of 1 ha in size (45 ha), established in the Yungas of Salta and Jujuy, covering the three altitudinal levels present in the region: Premontane forests, and Upper and Lower Montane forests, along an altitudinal gradient between 500 and 2300 m. a.s.l. Seventy percent of these plots are located on private property, while the remaining 30% are located in state protected areas.


Julieta Carilla, Sergio Javier Ceballos, Romina Fernández, Yohana Jimenez, Oriana Osinaga Acosta


Cecilia Blundo:
Agustina Malizia: 



Relevant publications:  

Duque A, Peña MA, Cuesta F, González-Caro S, Kennedy P, Phillips OL, Calderón-Loor M, Blundo C, Carilla J, Cayola L, Farfán-Ríos W, Fuentes A, Grau R, Homeier J, Loza-Rivera MI, Malhi Y, Malizia A, Malizia L, Martínez-Villa JA, Myers JA, Osinaga-Acosta O, Peralvo M, Pinto E, Saatchi S, M Silman, Tello JS, Terán-Valdez A, Feeley KJ. 2021. Mature Andean forests as globally important carbon sinks and future carbon refuges. Nature Communications 12: 2138.  

Malizia A, Blundo C, Carilla J, Osinaga Acosta O, Cuesta F, Duque A, et al. 2020. Elevation and latitude drives structure and tree species composition in Andean forests: Results from a large-scale plot network. Plos One.  

Ceballos SJ, Malizia A, Chacoff N. 2020. Alternative pathways of liana communities in the forests of northwestern Argentina. Biotropica, 52:533-540.

Fadrique B, Báez S, Duque A, Malizia A, Blundo C, Carilla J, Osinaga Acosta O, et al. 2018. Widespread but heterogeneous responses of Andean forests to climate change. Nature, 564: 207-212.

Malizia A, Osinaga Acosta O, Powell PA, Aragón R. 2017. Invasion of Ligustrum lucidum (Oleaceae) in subtropical secondary forests of NW Argentina: Declining growth rates of abundant native tree species. Journal of Vegetation Science, 28:1240-1249. 

Stephenson NL, AD Das, R Condit, SE Russo, P Baker, NG Beckman, DA Coomes, E Lines, W Morris,  N Rüger, E Álvarez, C Blundo, S Bunyavejchewin, G Chuyong, SJ Davies, Á Duque, CEN Ewango, O Flores, JF Franklin, HR Grau, Z Hao, ME Harmon, SP Hubbell, D Kenfack, Y Lin, JR Makana, A Malizia, LR Malizia, RJ Pabst, N Pongpattananurak, SH Su, IF Sun, S Tan, D Thomas, PJ van Mantgem, X Wang & SK Wiser. 2014. Rate of tree carbon accumulation increases continuously with tree size. Nature 507: 90-93.

Blundo C, Malizia LR, Blake JG, Brown AD. 2012. Tree species distribution in Andean forests: influence of regional and local factors. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 28:83 - 95. 

Carilla J, Grau HR. 2011. Successional patterns of subtropical montane forest from northwestern Argentina. Bosque, 32:97-111.

Grau HR, Arturi, MF, Brown AD, Aceñolaza, PG. 1997. Floristic and structural patterns along a chronosequence of secondary forest succession in Argentinean subtropical montane forests. Forest Ecology and Management, 95:161-171.