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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


While the grazing of livestock has occurred for millennia in the Andes, current sustainability debates center on concerns with co-managing climate change and pastoralism. These discussions have special resonance in places protected by the state for biodiversity, scenery, and sustainable and traditional land uses, such as those found in protected areas and biosphere reserves. For this article, we integrate data from a social-ecological research project on the land use systems that affect high-elevation ecosystems in Peru’s Huascarán National Park, with special emphasis on the wetlands. We used land cover and land use data and insights from interactions with pastoralists to show that (1) wet meadows dominate the lower reaches of the park, while peatlands predominate above 4000 m elevation; (2) wet meadows are most useful for traditional grazing systems, while the peatlands are especially susceptible to trampling by livestock; and (3) there is limited ecological space at the highest elevations for the successful future upward relocation of either land use or potential habitats for species identified as of concern. We explore the implications of these findings for the adaptive strategies of biophysical and social processes in terms of livelihoods and biodiversity in and around a protected area. We conclude that there are many additional opportunities to be explored to inform the management of ecosystem services and provide improvements for the adaptive capacity of communities and park managers.

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Copyright: © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Publisher’s version of record:

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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