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Yucay River Valley

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The Yucay River Valley is located in the eastern sub-humid Andes of the Department of Ayacucho, between the Sierra de Sillaccasa and the Huamanga-Vischongo Basin. Extensive cultivated areas around the communities of Chunucancha, Huaychao, Acocro, Tambo, Cuchucancha, and others occupy 82% of the Right of Way (RoW) in this dry valley landscape of the upper Yucay river basin. The second lowest point of the RoW in the department of Ayacucho reaches 2,850 masl (meters above sea level) when it crosses the Yucay river.


Among the cultivated areas and the communities, the RoW goes through Eucalyptus plantations (6%), used mainly by the communities for firewood and wood. Patches of native relict vegetation are composed of resinous (10%) and thorny (1%) scrub. The natural vegetation belongs to the Mantaro Dry Forest System, which is biogeographically different from the dry forests of the Torobamba River Valley of the Apurímac system. Also, this difference is reflected in the fauna, where each valley has unique species of the genus Stenocercus, lizards of the Andean dry forest, and the Stenocercus frittsi, an endemic species for the Mantaro basin for the Yucay Valley. The vegetation of dry scrub includes several species of cacti, such as Echinopsis peruviana, designated as "vulnerable" by Peruvian legislation. The shrub Escallonia myrtilloides was also found in this ELU and is listed as "vulnerable" by Peruvian legislation.


In streams and riverine environments, an aquatic frog of the genus Telmatobius was found, as well as the toad Rhinella spinulosa, a species of great distribution (cataloged by Peruvian legislation as "almost threatened"). Frogs of the genus Telmatobius are categorized as "threatened" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) given the spread of the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) as well as by its over-hunting for medicinal purposes and the loss of habitats The Yucay River also has populations of catfish of the genus Trichomycterus.

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