[Abancay Model Forest] A community proposal

Apurimac is a bio-diverse region, and has a variety of forest types. Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) has been working for many years on landscape management and conservation, especially with Andean forests and ecosystems.

Abancay Model Forest Proposal

Apurímac, a bio-diverse region

Apurimac’s main activity is agriculture, but this is stagnating for a number of reasons. Over 60 per cent of agriculture in the region is family farming, responsible for food production and supply.

Family farming in Apurimac uses agro-biodiversity and Andean cosmo-vision. In other words, the peasant farmers are the guardians of their great agro-biodiversity and its genetic varieties, and possess ancestral local knowledge about its management, culture and rituals.

Polylepis forests are ecosystems that must be cared for, because they are home to threatened bird species such as the “churrete real” (Cinclodes aricomae), the “tijeral de ceja blanca” (Leptasthenura xenothorax), the “torito de pecho cenizo” (Anairetes alpinus). One of the places where this ecosystem can be seen is the area of the Rontoccocha lagoon, which is also the main source of water for the region’s capital. Other high Andean ecosystems in the region are the scrublands, bofedal, pajonal, puna grass, and native and exotic tree species plantations.

Analyses conducted in particular territories of the region (Saywite Choquequirao Cluster) show that in the last 15 years over 30 per cent of the original forest has been lost, and that vulnerability levels in several districts are medium to high, especially in areas where there are larger communities and access roads.

The Andean Forests Programme, an initiative promoted by Swiss Cooperation, has been supporting local actors in close coordination with the local partner CEDES and other allied agencies, such as the Apurímac regional government, SERFOR, SERNANP and the Regional Environmental Commission (CAR).

The support focused mainly on the communities of Ccerabamba, Huironay/Pacchani, San Ignacio de Kiuñalla, Atumpata, Micaela Bastidas and Llañucancha.

The activities include protecting and recovering springs in Kiuñalla and the Rontococha river basin, implementing and systematising water monitoring in different parts of the site, supporting the implementation of a water MERESE in Mariño, the restoration pilot project in Kiuñalla (101.5 hectares) and strengthening the local community organisational structure, supporting the Sacha Tarpuy regional reforestation programme, and strengthening coordination between local entities.

The Rontoccocha Lagoon Area in Apurimac

This is one of the main sources of water for irrigation and for human consumption in the city of Abancay and almost 60,000 inhabitants in the Mariño micro-watershed. The area faces different pressures that have led to increased vulnerability to water shortages in the communities.

The programme has held a number of activities to recover and restore these ecological areas and implement a pioneering strategy of payment for water ecosystem services. Government regulation and supply agencies (SUNASS, EPS and EMUSAP) take part, and they generate resources, via tariffs, for recovering and restoring strategic ecological areas for water supply.

The Ampay National Sanctuary (SNA)

Apurimac’s only protected natural area is important for the province’s economy, as it provides water resources for agricultural activities in the Mariño Valley, and water for the city and peri-urban sectors. Its natural attraction is exploited for tourism to some extent.

Ampay National Sanctuary
©Andean Forests Platform

For better conservation of ecologically important areas, it has been proposed to create a direct use community reserve as a Community Regional Conservation Area.

In recent years, certain trends have increased the pressures on these resources, which have been aggravated by the COVID-19 emergency:

  • Increased crop areas sown by returnees (vegetables, staples and quick turn-around stock breeding).
  • New production chains for avocado, potato, broad bean, green peas, guinea pigs and alfalfa. These need more water and change the land use of scrubland and dry forest valleys.
  • More frequent forest and natural grassland fires.
  • Insufficient timely support (financing and technical assistance) for family farming, from central, regional and local government and NGOs.
  • Frequent climate variation – droughts, hard frosts, higher temperatures and radiation intensity etc. which directly affect the livelihoods and health of the community.
  • Value of food that is traceable and agricultural products grown naturally with agro-biodiversity.
  • The need for community-supported land and natural resources management through multi-stakeholder and multi-level agencies (territorial governance).

It is very important for the various stakeholders key to sustainable landscape management to be involved. With this in mind and to strengthen governance in the region, CEDES Apurímac, supported by the Andean Forests Programme, developed a Model Forest proposal for the Abancay area, which comprises three districts and seventeen communities, which are connected to the protected natural area of the Ampay – Tamburco National Sanctuary. The area has approximately 19,812.15 hectares of Andean forest.

Model Forests

Model Forests are not an idea or a territory in themselves, but rather “social, inclusive and participatory processes that pursue the sustainable development of a territory and thus contribute to achieving global objectives of poverty reduction, climate change, combating desertification and sustainable development goals”.

In Latin America, Model Forests are linked through the Latin American Model Forest Network (LAMFN), a voluntary alliance of Model Forests supported by government representatives from each member country, which is affiliated to the International Model Forest Network Secretariat (IMFNS).

The network currently brings together 33 territories of 15 countries in Central America, South America, the Caribbean and Spain that work together for the good management of forests and natural resources in their territories.

Zoom in

Model Forests will help:

  • Bring to the fore Andean forests and their progress.
  • Consolidate a multi-actor and multi-level governance proposal and communication plan to create environmental awareness and resilience.
  • Include the territory in south-south cooperation (research, contingency plans for fires and other man-made and natural risks).
  • Encourage discussion with other MFs.
  • Increase organised community participation.

About Andean Forests (Bosques Andinos)

The Andean Forests Programme is an initiative in the Andean countries, which is part of SDC’s Global Programme on Climate Change and Environment and is facilitated by the Helvetas Peru consortium (CONDESAN).

For further information:
Web Andean Forests
Fact sheet Andean Forests
Andean Forests Platform



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