Restoring, conserving and expanding mountain pastures and wetlands and improving communal management in Canchayllo, Peru

Instituto de Montaña
Published: 28 November 2016
Last edited: 21 February 2023
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An Ecosystem based Adaptation measure was implemented by the community of Canchayllo and The Mountain Institute in partnership with the Nor Yauyos Cochas Landscape Reserve and IUCN. Our adaptation solution combined traditional (indigenous), local knowledge with the latest science and comprised three components: (1) Strengthening community organization, (2) Strengthening local capacities and (3) Combined green and grey infrastructure. Working together with scientists and practitioners, Canchayllo community members decided torepair awater dam and rehabilitate anold, unused water channel.


This led to the recovery of a network of ancient ditches in the communal farmland and surrounding areas that now supply water to 560 ha of pasture lands. In addition, the water is recharging temporary ponds and underground aquifers that supply water to pits and springs in the lower part of the Jaramayo micro-catchment and the Cochas - Pachacayo sub-basin.


South America
Scale of implementation
Grassland ecosystems
Rangeland / Pasture
Tundra or montane grassland
Geodiversity and Geoconservation
Indigenous people
Local actors
Terrestrial spatial planning
Traditional knowledge
Water provision and management
Extreme heat
Glacial retreat
Increasing temperatures
Shift of seasons
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Inefficient management of financial resources
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor governance and participation
Social conflict and civil unrest
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 5 – Gender equality
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 18: Traditional knowledge


Distrito de Canchayllo, Departamento de Junín, Perú | Nor Yauyos-Cochas Landscape Reserve, Peru


• Weak communal organization.

• Difficult access to the communal area and low level of local participation at the beginning.

• Initial mistrust towards the project.

• Only 41% of the population (mainly livestock farmers) reported to depend directly on ecosystem services (related to pasture and water).

• Difficulties in matching local expectations with the EbA approach due to conflicting interests within the community and among authorities (i.e. livestock farmers versus those who look for alternative income opportunities such as mining).


• Direct: 60 families related to livestock-farming in the rural community of Canchayllo.

• Indirect: 150 families (approx. 700 persons) in the community of Canchayllo and population living in the middle and lower part of the watershed.

How do the building blocks interact?

The building blocks are articulated in a way that contributes to the initiative’s sustainability. The technology-based infrastructure combined with activities to strengthen technical and organizational capacities build the basis for the measure’s sustainable implementation and maintenance.


• Strengthening of community organization

• Strengthening local capacities and knowledge

• Infrastructure/ Recovery of technologies


The water storage capacity of the community area improved due to repairs made to the Chacara lake dam. In September 2015, a flow of 184 litres per second was recorded. With the rehabilitation of the main channel, Chacara-Jutupuquio (2,855 m), water availability in the upper part of the community increased. Wetland zones and troughs were formed and an ancestral water channel was recovered in the area under collective management. This restored channel—a combination of a PVC pipeline and infiltration ditches with water distribution and regulation functions—supplies water to 560 hectares of native pastures and grazing sectors.


The probability of fires was reduced due to higher humidity in the pastures. Bird sightings, such as ducks (Anas flavirostris), have increased. These can be spotted in the lagoons or temporary qochas (natural ponds), which are formed by the water that runs through the restored channel and system of ditches. Three hectares of native pastures have been recovered in a natural way through demonstration plots.


Instituto de Montaña

Testimonial of Gonzalo Quiroz - Head of the Nor Yauyos-Cochas Landscape Reserve

"Unlike other projects that come with a pre-established formula and say 'I have to do A, B, C, D and these are my indicators and my results', I think one of the benefits of this project may have been that it was possible to design it during the term. Unlike other projects that have everything encapsulated at the start, and say 'well I have to do this and I cannot even change the name of the activity'.

I think that has been one of the positive things about this project. [...] It is a matter of ownership, right? It has not been a parallel construction process or that one has developed it without the intervention of the other, I believe it has been a common planning process and this has been reflected in the master plan and in the activities that have been implemented.

We (Nor Yauyos-Cochas Landscape Reserve and The Mountain Institute) have aligned with each other and I do not think that was for a mandate, it has not been an order. It was because it was of mutual benefit, because we are two institutions that intervene in the same territory. The logic is that we have to support each other because in the end these activities are implemented for the benefit of the population, not of the institutions. [...]

Ideally, we form one single team and I think that has worked, because we made the calls and invitations in a common language. Both institutions signed one invitation letter and both your staff [The Mountain Institute] and ours [Nor Yauyos-Cochas Landscape Reserve] helped to ensure the call, participated in the workshops, participated in the activities ... So it hasn´t been a process of orders in the beginning and empowerment in the end, this process we have designed and carried forward together with a common goal. So as an institution, we are implementing this common goal.

If I'm going to work on the issue of ecosystem restauration to improve the water harvest, well, it will be a minimum of three years, four years to do the infrastructure, pasture management, sensitize people to implement that management and to see how that ecosystem or that ecosystem service that is part of the pasture, that is the fodder, begins to improve the quality of life of the people."

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Florencia Zapata Instituto de Montaña

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Instituto de Montaña
Instituto de Montaña