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Chacamarca Historic Sanctuary is located in an area where the interests and responsibilities of various institutions and communities overlap and create a volatile situation full of conflict. There are territorial, socioeconomic, institutional, and sociocultural conflicts. Locals use the sanctuary's natural resources unsustainably; they extract grasses, gravel, and land and overgraze the pasture reducing overall vegetative coverage. Resources are not sufficiently protected, in part because of the numerous access routes leading into the interior of the area and in part because only two park guards are assigned to the area. Specific threats include:


  • Land ownership conflicts 
  • Livestock
  • Extraction 
  • Garbage dump


    Land ownership conflicts


    Chacamarca Historic Sanctuary is established on a heterogeneous spot, both in a physical sense and when it comes to land ownership. Sanctuary lands overlap with rural community lands including the communities of Villa de Junín, San Pedro de Cajas and the Santa Rosa and Quepachaca private establishments. This overlapping creates land use conflicts: the historic sanctuary category does not permit direct uses yet the community lands are used traditionally for grazing.  The master plan summarizes the territorial conflicts as property conflicts, landscape alteration, and overlapping land uses (livestock, tourism, recreation, and protection). 


    Before it became a sanctuary, the land belonged to the Chichausiri Plantation until 1969 when it was impacted by the agrarian reform. During the reform, a series of lots were established and granted to beneficiaries. Chichausiri Lot #1 was assigned to the San Pedro de Cajas Rural Community, Chichausiri Lot #2 was assigned to Villa de Junín Rural Community, and Chichausiri Lot #3a and Bellavista Lot #2 were reserved for the State. When the sanctuary was established, it partially covered these properties and part of the Santa Rosa Lot as well as the Quepachaca Establishment. The following table details the extent of the overlapping per property.


    Villa de Junín  - Chichausiri Lot #2:  279.25 ha
    San Pedro de Cajas - Chichausiri Lot #1: 163
    Patiño Family - Santa Rosa Lot:  37.83
    Quepachaca Establishment:  1.08
    State held - Chichausiri Lot #3a and Bellavista Lot #2:  2018.84
    Total Protected Area:  2500.00 ha


    According to current legislation, landowners of properties located within a protected area conserve their property rights, but they are subjected to the use limitations and restrictions set forth in the area's creation decree and respective master plan. (20)


    The main land use conflict within Chacamarca Historic Sanctuary is related to the San Francisco de Chichausiri Agrarian Cooperative, located within the sanctuary itself. This cooperative benefited from the agrarian reforms in the 1970s and received land grants, apparently on a temporary basis because the grant clauses state that when the Government required and had a responsible agency in place, it could solicit the return of the granted infrastructure and use of the land. Today, both the Provincia de Junín Municipality and the Villa de Junín Rural Community want the cooperative removed from the area. The protected area's management and management committee agree. According to those involved, the cooperative is occupying lands unlawfully as they remain in the old plantation house and continue to carry out their productive activities. 


    These circumstances make it next to impossible to implement any project in the protected area, like tourism, which is one of the few activities actually permitted in a historic sanctuary. The old plantation house is perfect for tourism and it would be a waste of time and money to build any new tourism infrastructure. Both the National Cultural Institute and INRENA are interested in restoring the plantation house and archeological remains to later grant a management and administration concession to a third party. The international aid project "PAN" has agreed to provide funding for the restoration efforts once the conflict is resolved. According to reports, there are several third-party concessionaires interested, most of which are related to operating tourist circuits throughout Junín. The Regional Government in interested in helping the museum within the sanctuary. 


    The National Cattlemen's Society of Peru is assisting the cooperative in this dispute. This organization's focus is agricultural and livestock management and hence they find a natural partnership with the cooperative. They have sought political channels to leverage influence and ensure that Chichausiri Agricultural Cooperative can continue to use these lands even though there is a legal procedure against them. The lawsuit has reached the Public Prosecutor's Office of the Ministry of Agriculture and considers three options. 1) A legal action that requires the cooperative to stop its activities within the sanctuary; this action would be taken even though such a mandate has already been issued in the decree because the cooperative has not yet complied and continues livestock activities. INRENA has determined through its monitoring activities that livestock movements remain the same. 2) Eviction within the scope of a civil lawsuit, which is already underway. 3) A criminal action taken against the cooperative for damages created by canals and introduced exotic species, also underway. 



                The plantation house in the Junín Pampas within the sanctuary 



    The conflict has reached such levels that the two adjacent rural communities (San Pedro de Cajas and Villa de Junín) in coordination with the Junín Municipality are talking about planning an eventual invasion to take the sanctuary by force and evict the cooperative from the area. The cooperative believes that this supposed invasion is simply planned so that these communities can introduce their livestock in the cooperative-held area.   


    The president of the cooperative affirms that they do have lands outside of the protected area, but he adds that they are small and unconnected. Together they equal about 3,000 hectares, which is not enough for the livestock herds they manage. Evicting the cooperative's livestock from the protected area would be a serious economic blow. Because of the help they have received from the Ministry of Agriculture, they have been able to remain using the area's lands up until this point. According to the president, they would be amenable to reducing the number of cattle and would even agree to pay for pasture use rights. They would improve the old plantation house and roads and provide park guards, all in an effort to reach a mutual agreement with INRENA. He claims that the Mayor of Junín has personal interests in the land and that is why he became involved with Villa de Junín, San Pedro de Cajas and INRENA working against the cooperative. They fear that if the cooperative leaves, the neighboring communities will simply introduce their livestock and use the pastures. The president says that they are not trained in pasture management and that the continued change in leadership does not bode well for consistent management. The cooperative will not allow an INRENA third-party concession to manage the area. If it were only for tourism, they would be willing to accept it, but if the concession involves the land and pastures, they believe that the cooperative should just be allowed to continue. They are most concerned about the pastureland and they can negotiate the rest. The president ended by saying that they will not be removed from these lands even if it is necessary to resort to violence in order to stay. (21)


    According to the Sanctuary's Management Committee president, allowing the cooperative to stay on these lands is making appropriate management of the sanctuary impossible. A livestock pasture full of fences is found within the historic battlefield. During one of the celebrations commemorating the Battle of Junín, members of the military and even foreign ambassadors in attendance visited the battlefield and were surprised to see fences and livestock. The Committee president lamented what a shame it is to see the sanctuary like this, especially when in other parts of the world, such an important site would be considered an altar to patriotic heritage. The Management Committee president confirms that the cooperative resists leaving. They have involved the National Cattlemen's Society and even the Minister of Agriculture, plotting with a group of people and betraying an entire country. He feels that the government must comply with protected area regulations and remove the cooperative. The tribunal already said as much, but the cooperative continues to defend itself. The Committee president suggests taking and occupying the sanctuary in order to create pressure; this in turn would generate a police response that would remove everyone from the sanctuary, leaving it free. (22)


    The Mayor of Junín believes that the government has neglected the sanctuary and as a result, it is in the hands of a group of descendents of ex-plantation workers that have created a closed circle around themselves and use the land with no regard to its status as a national natural protected area. It is an American holy field where people lost their lives, heritage for all of Latin America. As part of the local government, the Mayor feels that he must speak out against the neglect, disinterest, and indifference towards this national cemetery. The municipality has solicited the central and regional government and even INRENA, but there is no political will to resolve its problems. It has reached such an extreme that it is said that the Mayor is an "agitating terrorist" who wants to destabilize a small group of poor rural farmers and put them out of business. The Mayor says that the local government wants the sanctuary to be respected as a holy field to encourage tourism and in turn, stimulate employment in the area. Chacamarca has been degraded; they have built canals, planted pasture, tilled the land with tractors, and destroyed archeological remains with corrals. This goes against what is indicated in the supreme decree-the sanctuary is for conservation, and tourism to generate employment.  


    The Mayor confirms that the rural community of San Pedro de Cajas wants to use their corresponding lands from the monument to the southern part and that Villa de Junín wants the lands from the monument to the north so that both communities will benefit. He also went on to say that the Chichausiri Agrarian Cooperative members are not poor people-he claims that they live in Huancayo and Lima, and that their children study in other places.  He says that they are a closed cooperative that does not permit new members and that their annual earnings reach the millions. They have taken the old plantation house as if it were their own property, but they are not the owners, they are illegally occupying the house; no one has given them custodian and there are no supporting documents. The Mayor blames today's problems on the authorities of the 1970s for neglecting the situation and allowing it to escalate to these levels. He says that nothing is complied with, the law is meaningless and the area is just another pasture, not a protected area. The Mayor thinks the solutions include applying the law and permitting the allowed uses: tourism and research. He wants to protect the area with its native flora and fauna and ensure that it is a genetic bank managed for vicuñas, as he recognizes that vicuña wool could generate employment.


    The Mayor believes that INRENA is not fulfilling its duties. He said, "the INRENA director in Lima simply gives his "fat" approval, because they bring him cheese and butter but don't take any action." He emphasized the fact that lack of political will is the problem since the eviction order exists but no action to comply. He believes that if the cooperative refuses to leave, it is a provocation. He said that the local government makes solicitations so that INRENA can gain custodian of these 2,500 hectors because without it, the communities will have a confrontation and INRENA will be blamed for not fulfilling its function. The Mayor ended by asking that INRENA and the Central Government comply with the Supreme Decree and deter future violence and convert Chacamarca into a tourist destination for national and international visitors. (23)  




    Livestock activities of San Francisco de Chichausiri Agrarian Cooperative and irrational use of Chacamarca's pastures have deteriorated native flora and fauna. Associated activities generate impacts at varying degrees:  



      Cattle's impact on soil and the effect of burns on natural grasses 


    - Burning natural grasses, in an attempt to promote regrowth, destroys existing organic material found between ichu and grass bunches and leaves the soil exposed and vulnerable to drying and erosion. Introduction of cultivated pasture grasses alters the structure and composition of the ecosystem, adds to the increasing number of exotic species in the area, and alters soil use.  


    - Wetland drainage is done to irrigate introduced pasture grasses and to put more land into production. This happened to the sanctuary's swampland that has dried up since Yaropuquio's spring waters were redirected to use the land for cattle. Not only did this negatively affect the area's biodiversity, it also impacted the historic scenery of the Battle of Junín.   



    Drainage canal and fences for cattle, and the diversion canal used to irrigate introduced pastures 


    - Water channel construction for pasture irrigation fragments habitat, alters the water quantity on naturally dry soils, and alters the landscape.  


    - Use of dogs to help herd cattle is another activity that impacts the sanctuary because these domesticated animals are a potential source of disease that could affect wildlife species. They also disturb wild fauna. 


    - Livestock grazing also brings infrastructure into the protected area. For example, the presence of herders' sheds alters the landscape and provides shelter for people enabling them to remain in the protected area. Their related daily activities, such as washing clothes, impact water quality and generally increase waste in the sanctuary. Herders will also build fences for their cattle, and this fragments habitat and restricts vicuñas' movements. Roads are also opened to transport products and personnel, again fragmenting the habitat and impacting the landscape.


    - The cattle themselves impact the sanctuary; they eat grasses (thereby reducing vegetative coverage), and impact pastures' vigor. Because they eat the most palpable native species, undesirable herbaceous species can take hold as the other species decrease in number. Herders also use agro-veterinarian products on their herds to eliminate parasites and keep cattle free from disease, and this contaminates the environment. The presence of cattle does not allow grasses to regenerate, and once pastures are degraded, they move to new areas thereby perpetuating and expanding the problem.


    - Cattle negatively impact archeological remains. They trample the remains directly and the herders will use the rocks and stones from archeologically significant structures to build new fences and corrals.  

    All of this occurs even though Article 4 of Supreme Decree 0750-74-AG that created the sanctuary specifies that land holders many not build or install any structures that violate the harmony of the landscape or protected area.  


    Livestock activity produces these primary impacts when the number of cattle exceeds the area's carrying capacity and provokes pasture degradation. This process occurs because cattle graze selectively, consuming palpable species first. This weakens the system and reduces the amount of palpable species allowing undesirable species to increase in numbers.  


    In addition to grazing, the cattle are round up at night in corrals. These corrals are either permanent or temporary. Grouping many cattle together in a relatively small space alters the landscape and compacts the soil. In addition, manure tends to accumulate in these areas and as a result, so does the amount of nitrogen. Sleeping corrals are eventually abandoned. At first, the area is barren then stinging nettle (called "ortiga") emerges and dominates. Aside from sleeping corrals, the herders customarily burn pastures to encourage regrowth but it actually contributes to pasture degradation and the number of undesirable species increase. (24)


    Effect of sleeping corrals on natural pasture and sparse Ichu resulting from cattle grazing



    According to the protected area's director, there are approximately 1200 head of cattle, 8000 sheep, 300 alpaca and 100 horses and mules in the sanctuary.   


    Wildlife species, such as the vicuña, do not enter cattle grazing areas because of wire fences. This restricts them from sources of water and sectors of viable pasture.  


    Aside from affecting their access to food and water, cattle can also pass disease on to the vicuñas. There are possible epidemics, like hand-foot-mouth disease, that would cause high mortality if the vicuña population were contaminated. Vicuña are also susceptible to scabies and ringworm, and would most likely contract these parasites from herding dogs. Alpaca are also raised in the area, there are approximately 300 animals, but there are no sanitary measures taken and animals are not well controlled. These alpaca could threaten wild vicuña populations by competing for space and food, and they could be a source of disease and epidemics.        


    The drainage ditches built over time caused a swamp located at the battlefield in the historic sector of the sanctuary to disappear. The swamp's existence is known thanks to references in chronicles and testimonials from old inhabitants, but today it is just another area used to raise cattle. The ditches and canals fragment the habitat; distinct pasture types form a mosaic in some sectors. The burns affect puna grasses and soils as well as native rodents, skunks, and foxes.



    This diagram represents the sanctuary and management sectors, but does not reflect the sanctuary's zoning. Wild vicuñas, distributed in troops and clans, are found in the high areas of Junín Punta Hill (also known as Bandera Hill) in Sector I and the western part of Sector III in the pampa. The majority of introduced grasses and pastures are located in Sector II. There are a large number of sheep in Sector III, although it is the least pressured sector in the sanctuary.




    Locals living around the sanctuary often extract grasses, especially during winter (September to December) when grasses are dry. They use it in roof building, to make adobe and string, to pack collected moss, and as fuel to cook with in the kitchen. In addition, from June to August, they extract moss to use as fuel. Occasionally, people are seen extracting dirt, gravel, and clay for the asphalt on the nearby central highway leaving exposed earth without vegetation.  


    Illegal hunting exists on a limited basis. Throughout the year, locals hunt the most sought after species, including the Puna tinamou Tinamotis pentlandii, Andean goose (Chloephaga melanoptera) and montane guinea pig (Cavia tschudii).


    Garbage dump


    Next to the protected area's southern border is Junín's garbage dump (which is about 8 km from the town itself). The Municipality of Junín is responsible for this open-air dump, which was implemented without any design or technical specifications. Winds disperse trash, especially bags and papers, carrying them into and contaminating the protected area. The garbage directly affects fauna; it is not uncommon to see birds, dogs, and rodents rummaging through the waste. Its smell is unpleasant and its negative visual impact is significant. 

                                 Garbage dump next to the sanctuary


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