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Capacity building in taxonomy and phylogenetics for the conservation and restoration of threatened Andean ecosystems


Polylepis Andean woodlands are the highest woodlands in the world and they provide crucial ecosystem services. They are considered highly threatened in South America due to overgrazing, firewood extraction, burning, road building and mining, and in Bolivia only 10% of them remain. Ecological restoration through reforestation is therefore key for conservation of Polylepis woodlands and their associated ecosystem services. Yet, fundamental knowledge to achieve successful large-scale restoration of Polylepis woodlands in terms of selecting the right restoration areas and species is still lacking. A critical first step in matching the local site conditions with the requirements of the species and to delineate woodland management units is to have a clear understanding of the taxonomy and phylogeny of the species (currently 28-42 species are proposed), which is still lacking. This project aims to strengthen the genetic and evolutionary research capacities in Bolivia and Ecuador, the establishment of a North-South-South network, and to develop knowledge transfer on woodland restoration to local conservation practitioners.

Intervention type

South Initiatives


01/01/2020 - 31/12/2021

This project is being implemented in:
Flemish promoter Olivier Honnay
Local promoter Edgar Gareca
Local partner institution KU Leuven
visit www.kuleuven.be
Local partner institution Universidad Mayor de San Simón
visit www.med.umss.edu.bo
Other local partners Universidad de las Fuerzas Armadas ESPE
visit http://www.espe.edu.ec/
Budget € 69.899