Saving High Andean Wetlands

Wetlands International’s Regional Office for Latin America & the Caribbean has initiated a two-year project to safeguard the wetlands of the Andes, particularly in the “Puna” region. This region is found on the high plateaus of the Peruvian, Bolivian, Argentinean and Chilean Andes in western South America.

Their work will focus on restoring two specific areas in the Puna region: Pozuelos Lagoon in Argentina and Lake Junin in Peru. Their natural resources are key for their local economies, including pasture, peat for fuel and food resources. Their associated peat bogs are also valuable as CO2 captures and sinks.

Human activities have affected these ecosystems, in particular pollution from extensive mining and unmanaged livestock grazing. All this has resulted in the degradation of wetlands, threatening their endemic biodiversity, their capacity to supply water and the livelihoods of local communities.

The two year project aims to improve the conservation status of these two threatened High Andes wetland sites. If the trajectory of these two sites can be redirected towards a healthier future, they

might be able to provide a blueprint that can be applied to many other locations in the region.