The highlands of Peru in the White Range are home to unique species including the endemic Polylepis forests found only in Peru, Colombia and Ecuador. The Peruvian forests have dramatically shrunk due to overgrazing, firewood collection and climate change. CI and its partner, The Mountain Institute (TMI), have been engaging Quechua communities living in the Conchucos region of the White Range to protect and restore key areas of Polylepis forests while providing development opportunities for them.
IN PHOTOS: Apu Pachatusan, Peru's Glacier.
The communities have committed to manage more than 12,000 hectares (29,650 acres) of highland ecosystems and protect over 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) of existing forests, while also restoring more than 150 hectares (371 acres) of new Polylepis forests. TMI has signed conservation agreements with seven highlands communities that in turn have received more than 80 energy efficient stoves to reduce their firewood intake by 60 percent, saving them $12 per family each month. In addition, the stoves have reduced respiratory problems by 90 percent in the participating communities.
The agreements also have brought 30 percent more milk production and a 25 percent increase in meat production due to improvements to 80 hectares (198 acres) of pastures, and additional income to the communities from renting out the improved pastures to other communities.
ARTICLE: Rallying Communities for Conservation.
Conservation agreements in the Conchucos region are supporting a long-term conservation and human well-being strategy to build a 50,000-hectare (123,600-acre) corridor connecting the forests of Huascarán National Park and the Huayhuash Reserved while providing income opportunities for poor Quechua communities.
LEARN: Read more stories of community partnerships and successes.