Ancestral Communities Bringing Back Forests in Vilcanota

"... the new trees we are planting will absorb the moisture that nature gives to us in the form of mist and rain. The trees are the only way we have of storing the water."

Constantino Aucca, President & Co-Founder of Acción Andina & ECOAN

Project Area
Located in spectacular Andean landscapes above the Sacred Valley of the Incas near Cusco, Peru, the Vilcanota project is a 150,000 hectares, integrated, mountain landscapes restoration project that has been run successfully since 2001. Lead implementer Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) partners with 26 indigenous communities across the Vilcanota corridor to protect and restore their communal lands with native forests, mainly for increased water security and improved community livelihoods. The success of the Vilcanota project is based on a long-term relationship of trust between ECOAN and the local communities. As the flagship project of the Acción Andina initiative, it is used as a model for all other programs. All projects were designed in alignment and respect of high Andean indigenous community culture.

Project Goals
This project area will contribute to the overall Acción Andina mission; to protect and restore one million hectares of high priority Polylepis forests in the next 25 years in Peru, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, and Venezuela. This will create a significantly enhanced natural infrastructure for corresponding communities dependent on these landscape areas for their water security, restoring water catchment areas within key watersheds. An underlying goal of Acción Andina is to simultaneously strengthen and empower Latin American, on-the-ground conservation leaders. Long-term project goals include:

  • Establishment of private conservation areas.
  • Continuous community land titling.
  • Local conservation leadership training.
  • Development of additional micro-businesses and food-security programs to improve community livelihoods.
  • Restoration of the Vilcanota high Andean forests with a specific focus on native Polylepis tree species.

Current Results
Native Trees Planted: 1,353,050
Hectares Restored: 419
Nurseries Built & Maintained: 19
Communities Involved: 21
2022-2023 Tree Planting Projection: 540,000

Be part of the movement. Support restoration of high Andean forests:

Plant trees and help store water for life