Earlier this summer I had the pleasure of making a trip to the Nor Yauyos-Cochas Landscape Reserve in Peru (Reserva Paisajística Nor Yauyos-Cochas) with our Andes Program Director Dr. Jorge Recharte and a new staff member in our Andes Program Aneli Gómez. With funding from the German government, The Mountain Institute has started working with the local people in Nor Yauyos to reduce their vulnerability to climate change. Nor Yauyos is a jewel of a protected area located in the highlands above Lima, Peru. The reserve’s human population is about 12,000 people – primarily Indigenous. Nor Yauyos also harbors extraordinary ancient and modern agricultural terraces, and ruins and trails from the time of the Incas.
We made the trip with representatives of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and Ministry of Environment of Peru; as well as the reserve director and other staff from the National Protected Areas Service. We are working with these partners in Nor Yauyos, and in addition to helping the local people adapt to climate change, our combined efforts are aimed at sustainably securing and managing water and other resources for the large human population and economically-important irrigated agricultural lands downstream towards Lima.
We are using an approach called Ecosystem-based Adaptation. Our role, in particular, is to work with the local people to improve pasture and livestock management, agroforestry, and agricultural practices. We will also draw on our expertise with community-based ecotourism from other areas in Peru and elsewhere. We aim to improve the livelihoods and resilience of poor local communities during a time of major ecological change. Our efforts will also help secure ecological services, such as water, and wildlife in this beautiful landscape. The key to our work will be to enable the local communities to integrate the latest science with traditional knowledge, in some cases using recently recovered ancient watershed management methods. We are excited about the opportunity to work in Nor Yauyos and hope that we will make a positive impact in this beautiful mountain area in concert with inspiring local people.
- Written by Dr. Andrew Taber, Executive Director of The Mountain Institute