Residents of the Quelcancca community return carrying the flag of Peru from one of the headwaters where they planted 23,000 seedlings of Queuna trees of the Polylepis pauta, Polylepis subsericans, and Polylepis pepei species, with the aim of restoring the Andean ecosystem.

A resident of Patacancha carries a bundle of Quenual to the summit of a mountain to be planted.

The villagers of Patacancha carry bundles of Quenual trees on llamas and alpacas, which they will later plant in the highlands of the village at an altitude of over 4800 metres above sea level.

A child from the community of Abra Malaga gathers a bundle of Quenual shrubs to carry them up to the mountaintop where they will be planted.

Planting of Quenual in the community of Abra Malaga.

A Quenual bush in the highlands of the community of Patacancha. Since ancient times, this native plant has played a crucial role in protecting the headwaters of watersheds and providing a habitat for the biodiversity of Andean forests and wetlands. The quenual, also known as quinual or quewina (from the Quechua word 'qiwina'), is one of the few tree species that is highly resistant to cold temperatures in the world. Studies reveal that certain families of this species can thrive at altitudes above 5,200 metres above sea level.

In the community of Quelcanca, the orchards are located near the wetlands and streams that flow down from the high areas in the headwaters of the watershed.

A woman from the community of Quelcanca holds a Quenual bush before it is planted.

A small Quenual shrub is being transplanted in one of the high areas of the village of Quelcannca.

A group of musicians from the community of Quelcanca accompanies the planting of Quenual trees in one of the headwaters, a three hour walk from the village. During the Quenual Raimy, various cultural expressions typical of the communities in the Vilcanota river basins can be observed. Their traditional garments, music, and dances accompany the planting task.

During the planting of Quenual in the community of Patacancha, the participation of the entire village is evident. Even mothers carry their babies in traditional 'lliqllas' during the planting work.

Reinaldo, a 13-year-old boy, is dressed as a Huallata, a bird that lives near rivers and is believed to be a sign of a good planting season. Some members of the community accompany the planting with dances representing this bird as a ritual for a successful agricultural year.

In the community of Quelcanca, one can witness the interaction of water that flows from the snowy mountains and forms wetlands. This ecosystem is benefited by the planting of Quenual trees, which helps water infiltration into the subsoil.

A group of residents from the community of Patacancha perform a ritual offering to the land using coca leaves. The coca leaf plays a fundamental and sacred role in the ancestral beliefs of the Andean world. The residents use it to ask questions about the good harvest season, the rains, the right time for planting, among other aspects. Additionally, it is one of the main resources used during the strenuous planting tasks, providing energy and helping to alleviate hunger, among other benefits.

Residents from the village of Patacancha planting Quenual trees on the slopes of a mountain a few kilometres away from their village during the rainy season.

Woman from the community of Patacancha share a jug of 'chicha', a fermented beverage made from corn, during the planting of Quenual bushes. This collectively performed practice reinforces their cultural identity, promotes a sustainable relationship with the environment, and puts into practice knowledge passed down through generations.

The entire community of Abra Malaga attends the planting of Quenual trees in the highlands of a mountain, near one of the highest passes in the mountain range.

Aerial image of the Quenual tree planting operation in the community of Patacancha.

A woman planting a Quenual bush.

A settler from Abra Malaga transports a bundle of Quenual to the summit of a mountain. The picture showcases the intermediate scenery, where wetlands play a crucial role in the water sustainability of the communities.

A snow-capped peak covered by fog at the Abra Malaga pass.