Las Queuñas were and still are a valuable timber resource in the high Andes, its hardwood is ideal for building houses and tools. Unfortunately, these trees are endangered by over-exploitation, changes in land use and global warming. These sensitive species have a slow growth that hinders self-regeneration in areas that are used for wood extraction and grazing. ECOAN has spent 19 years directing the creation and management of private conservation areas that house relict forests of Queuñas in the Vilcanota mountain range. We work with the peasant communities in the production of seedlings of different Polylepis species, which are planted under the ancestral group work model called Ayni. This is how, year after year, we celebrate the reforestation party of the Polylepis, baptized as "Queuña Raymi". By conserving and recovering these forests, we protect endangered species such as the royal cinclodes (Cinclodes aricomae), the ash-breasted tit-tyrant (Anairetes alpinus) and the white-browed tit-spinetail (Leptasthenura xenothorax); whose populations have increased in recent years, demonstrating the success of the Queuña Raymi.
One of the conservation strategies of the relict forests of Queuña is the creation and long-term management of private conservation areas, recognized by the SERNANP (National Service of Natural Protected Areas). We currently have 9 ACPs in the Vilcanota mountain range, covering an area of 8614 hectares. In these forests we monitor flora, fauna, carbon stock and water content. We have reduced the firewood requirement of local communities by installing improved stoves and solar panels. Textiles and diverse agricultural products of these communities are inserted in the local market and the inhabitants are trained to provide ecotourism services in the network of private areas of the Vilcanota mountain range of the Sacred Valley of the Incas or "Vilcanota Trek".
To recover the habitat of these ecosystems through afforestation and reforestation, 100 000 saplings of Polyelpis are produced in communal nurseries every year.
From 2001 to 2018 it was possible to plant more than 1 and a half million plants of Polylepis or "Queuñas" and other native species of the high forests, such as Qolle (Buddleja spp.), Chachacomo (Escallonia resinous) and Alder (Alnus acuminata).