These forests are found in rugged mountain country between elevations of 3800 m and 4000 m. The species, from the Polylepis genus, form residual forests made up of stands of these stocky, twisted trees.
The queñual tree is a very important source of fuel for rural populations and, since it has peculiar heat-producing characteristics, these forests were subject to unchecked exploitation by charcoal producers and lumberjacks until there are now just forest relicts. It is also the most important wood forest resource in the Caylloma province. The best preserved stands are found in Cabanaconde, Huambo, and Huanca. Throughout the entire province, it is estimated that there are close to 10,000 hectares covered by queñual forests.