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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   The Huascarán Biosphere Reserve encloses a diversity of geomorphologic features and is also a World Heritage Site and a National Park. It is situated in the Cordillera Blanca, the highest tropical mountain range in the world, with 27 snow-capped peaks 6,000 meters above sea level, of which El Huascarán (6,768 meters) is the highest peak. It supports an equally wide range of vegetation types, humid montane forest in the valleys, with alpine fluvial tundra, and very wet sub-alpine paramo formations at higher levels. Some 120 species of plants have been identified. The spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus (V)), puma (Felis concolor incarum), mountain cat (F. pajeros), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and the vicuna (Vicugna vicugna) are important indigenous species, but all have been heavily hunted in the past. The importance of the site for biodiversity conservation is high, but it could be threatened by mining projects and the location of a planned pipeline for mineral transport. The main changes have been caused by the ravages of fires started both by careless park 'tourists', and in clearing neighbouring land for pasture (ichu forests and 'guenuales' have been extensively damaged), by ice collection from the glaciers and by intensive hunting. The national park is uninhabited, although there is some grazing in the lowlands by native livestock (llama and alpaca) under an agreement with the local people. Over 260,000 inhabitants (1999) live in the buffer and transition areas. The Callejón de Huaylas, outside the national park is mostly agricultural land and urban development with some grazing, plantation forestry and mining. Tourism constitutes another important income source for local communities. . More than 103,000 tourists (1999) have visited the ruins of ancient ethnic groups settlements, as witnessed by ruins at Gekosh and Chuchumpunta and at Willcahuain-Huyllap-Pumacayan, Hechkap-Jonkapampa etc. These represent the largest collection of such remains in the world known to date. A management plan is starting to be implemented. The main goal is to coordinate intersectoral activities and the participation of civil society in the management and zoning of the reserve.
  Major ecosystem type   Mixed mountain and highland systems
  Major habitats & land cover types   Humid montane forest; alpine fluvial tundra; very wet sub-alpine paramo formations; relict forests of Polylepis spp. and Gynoxys spp.; desert matorral; steppe; agroecosystems
  Location   08°50 to 10°40'S; 77°07' to 77°49'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   1,155,800
  Core area(s)   340,000
  Buffer zone(s)   170,200
  Transition area(s) when given   645,600
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +2,500 to +6,768
  Year designated   1977
  Administrative authorities   Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales (INRENA)

Last updated: 1/12/2011

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