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One of The Tourist Attractions in Vilcabamba is the Living Fence


Hello andy this is what i found on the Unesco website about "Live fences - Cercas vivas"

The province of Loja is located at the border with Peru in the southern part of Ecuador. Geographically, the area is characterized by an extremely irregular mountain range where few areas are fit for cultivation.

Erosion and the encroaching desertification process in the region affect nearly 80percent of Loja province. The vegetation is damaged and the number of animals has fallen. Local communities have witnessed a drop in their productivity while the dry periods gradually grow longer from year to year.

The National University of Loja has selected an ingenious way to satisfy the needs of the population during the dry season with the introduction of live fences, which counter the erosion of mountainous lands while protecting crops. This was achieved by introducing drought-resistant nopal crops, a cactus possessing various nutritional and therapeutic effects and which is associated with the exploitation of cochineal, used for centuries in the production of dyes.

Nopal fences and associated species

In view of the social, economic and environmental conditions, the National University of Loja considered bringing together both the reintroduction of traditional knowledge and the combat against desertification by planting nopal fences and other associated species.

The idea of the project was based on the ancestral harvesting of nopal in the region and the exploitation of cochineal. Not only can farmers benefit from traditional nopal and cochineal products that they consume, but also its reintroduction combats the desertification process. To achieve this, the nopal was grown in the form of live fences and was associated with local drought-resistant vegetation. Planted along the length of small terraces that follow the contour lines, these fences stabilize the soils on the slopes and protect the crops from wind and the effects of erosion.

The live fences were installed in an area of 2 hectares in the vicinity of the road linking Malacatos to Vilcabamba, where around 1000 and 800 farmers live respectively. At the time of implementation, the soils were very damaged and showed signs of marked erosion.

Here the link:


Greetings. arnold


Thank you for pulling on that thread, and adding to information. Generally UNESCO stuff is something relevant, and worth trying to learn. I appreciate this information. Andy Graham


You're welcome, Arnold

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