Apurimac River Valley:
Montane Forest Ecotone
News about this ELU
Foto: PERU LNG
Located in the humid eastern Andes of the Ayacucho Department, the easternmost zone of the Right of Way (RoW) begins near the upper limits of the montane forests of the Apurimac River Valley area of influence. This landscape was once dominated by upper montane forest (24%), much of which has been subjected to shifting agricultural practices, resulting in patches of degraded forests and scrub in various stages of recovery.
Relict stands of Polylepispauta (Rosaceae) trees also occur in this ELU. The other natural habitats are tussock (31%) and sward-forming (28%) grasslands and peat bog wetlands (9%). Areas actively cultivated by small farmers from the communities of Chiquintirca and Anchiguay occupy 9% of the RoW.
The climate is cool and wet, as this zone is closest to the source of the moist Amazonian air masses and starts at an elevation of 2,966 m above sea level at the lowest point near the Alfarpampa River and rising to just over 4,066 m asl. This area is known to harbor spectacled bears (Tremarctos ornatus), a wide-ranging Andean species that is categorized as vulnerable by the IUCN and National Institute of Natural Resources (INRENA).
However, no bears were directly observed during either the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) or field surveys. Among the small mammals, rare and endemic cloud forest oldfield mice of the genus Thomasomys, endemic amphibians belonging to the genera Phrynopus and Pristimantis, and two species of Proctoporus lizards new to science are important. Birds of interest include the endangered and range-restricted black-spectacled brush finch (Atlapetesmelanopsis), whose presence in this ELU represents a significant range extension and the vulnerable creamy-crested spinetail (Cranioleucaalbicapilla).