In the highest reaches of the Andes mountains there lies an ecosystem known as the paramo. This area can be quite cold at times, and will sometimes be covered in a layer of snow. Being a more extreme environment, many of the plants have adapted in ways that help to retain heat so that they don’t die during freezing temperatures. One particular plant that I found to be the most interesting is known as the cushion plant. These spongy plants are actually a network of plants that form together into a dense mat that helps to lock in warmth. When plants on the outer edges die, they sink inside where they decompose. As more and more plants decompose, they form nutrient rich organic matter that the cushion plant then uses to help new plants grow.