[Bosques Andinos en WeAdapt] Virtual reality for education: an immersive trip into the Andean Tropical Mountain Forests

The tropical mountain forests of the Andes are fragile ecosystems that contain a biological diversity characterized by its high degree of uniqueness and rarity. These ecosystems are seriously threatened throughout their distribution area, even though our dependence on them is really significant.

Its vulnerability to climate change and the dynamics of land cover and land-use changes, including fires, have caused its reduction in recent years. For this reason, it is of vital importance to promote its conservation, restoration, and sustainable use. It is also essential to make its immense value visible, especially to the urban population who feels far away from them, and does not demand action from their governments in favour of their conservation.

Tools which allow reducing the distance between the Andean forests landscapes and urban population can play a role in bridging this gap. The Andean Forests Platform uses virtual reality to offer online tours of parts of the Andean forests in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Chile. The objective of this article is to present the Andean Forests Platform, and to discover its potential as an educational resource for both schools and universities.

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La Agencia Suiza para el Desarrollo y la Cooperación (COSUDE) es la entidad encargada de la cooperación internacional dentro del Departamento Federal de Asuntos Exteriores (DFAE). Con otras oficinas de la Confederación, la COSUDE es responsable de la coordinación general de la cooperación para el desarrollo y de la cooperación con los Países del Este, así como de los programas de ayuda humanitaria suizos.