Polylepis Forest Conservation In Conchucos
As a result of the Polylepis conservation program, we have developed a corridor that joins the Conchucos Valley forests with the Huascaran National Park and the Huayhuash Reserve in the Department of Ancash, this has become an international model of corporate environmental and social responsibility for the mining industry.
The Polylepis is a botanical genus comprising over twenty species of shrubs and small trees. Its great peculiarity resides in being the only species capable of growing into forests at altitudes of between 2,800 and 5,000 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.), which means that they constitute the highest forests in the world.
Its importance is fundamental for human survival at altitudes over 3,000 m.a.s.l. because, in addition to being the only energy source for nearby communities, it acts as a shelter against drastic temperature fluctuations, night frost and cold winds while simultaneously providing a home to unique wildlife species. Moreover, they fulfill a vital role in regulating the water cycle, as well as controlling soil erosion and reducing carbon dioxide air emissions.
In addition to promoting the restoration and protection of the remaining Polylepis forests, this project seeks to implement a river headwater management plan in the region. Similarly, this program generates economic benefits for the communities; such as: job creation, plant nurseries and access to firewood in secondary forests that practice sustainable management.