Highest forests

A regional initiative to recover and conserve the highest forests in the world.

The forests of Queuña (Polylepis spp.) Are distributed in the highest floors of the Andes mountain range, from Venezuela to Argentina and Chile, between 3500 and 5200 masl. Historically they occupied a very long strip of these mountains, between snow-covered mountains and wetlands, but the overexploitation of their wood and the expansion of grazing land for breeding animals has reduced their coverage drastically in recent centuries. This ecosystem is inhabited by different species, because it has innumerable resources in food, shelter and water that are scarce in other scenarios of the same altitude. Widely distributed animals such as the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) and pumas (Puma concolor) reach this ecosystem and are part of the complex interaction network that includes a long list of specialists and flora and fauna endemic. These forests also fulfill very important ecological roles, such as the capture of water stored in mosses that grow on branches and soil. Carbon capture and buffering of temperature changes are added to their ecosystem functions and thus conserve tropical glaciers.

A large-scale initiative

The work of ECOAN in the Cusco region is taken to a large regional scale by joining in an international initiative with leading institutions in the study, conservation and restoration of these Andean forests. Since 2018, ECOAN and Global Forest Generation (GFG) have joined forces to create long-term partnerships with partners in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile, within the Andean Action initiative. This initiative strengthens leadership capacities and enhances the conservation, research and restoration of the Polylepis forests through collective work and stable commitment with communities and local authorities. Our goal is to restore and protect one million hectares of high Andean forests through effective and retributable actions. For more information, visit:

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