The Research


From May 23 to August 1, 1999 Fundación Ñucanchi Yuracuna will be working with Escuela Superior Politecnica de Chimborazo (ESPOCH) in an investigation of the Current Establishment and Regenerative Growth of Polylepis in the Sacha Huayco Forest in Ecuador.

The Sacha Huayco valley is located in the Chimborazo province of Ecuador, at an approximate height of 4000-4300 meters. It is currently being purchased by Fundación Ñucanchi Yuracuna. The area is comprised of Polylepis (Rosaceae) woodlands bordered by páramo as well as grasslands highly impacted by fire and grazing. The Polylepis is an important genus in preventing erosion and land degradation as well as providing the major source of fuel and building supplies for local communities. The Polylepis genus is currently endangered in Ecuador and is also listed as a primary genus to use in reforestation projects in the Andes. However, the regeneration of Polylepis has been largely unsuccessful and further research is needed to determine the regenerative needs of this important genus.

To provide local institutions with hard scientific data on the Polylepis, this study will survey the current establishment and regenerative growth of the Polylepis in the Sacha Huayco valley. A series of transects will be run through the valley to sample the population structure of the Polylepis. In each plot, all overstory growth will be identified and the DBH will be taken. The slope, aspect, and a series of measures of soil and litter depth will also be taken. Understory growth will be measured in each of four subplots per plot.

Polylepis weberbaueri Pilger from


This study will attempt to provide additional needed information about where Polylepis is currently growing and under what conditions. This information is essential if local reforestation projects with Polylepis are to occur. The department of Natural Resources at the Escuela Superior Politecnica de Chimborazo is currently researching the Polylepis, and information gained from this study will be integrated into their research programs.


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Fundación Ñucanchi Yuracuna
Conservation, Education, and Hope in the Andes of Ecuador
Date Last Modified: 5/18/99