On the basis of Landsat 7 ETM+ imagery, a prototype land-cover map was prepared for the Huascarán Biosphere Reserve (Peru). This document should contribute to the sustainable management of the Huascarán Biosphere Reserve, while making it possible to establish a regional planning policy and to prepare a natural risks map, which is still lacking in the region. The influence of the topography on radiometry was attenuated by using the normalized difference snow index (NDSI) and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), which were segmented using their histogram. A digital elevation model (DEM) was introduced to define the "highlands" and "lowlands". In the latter, the slope derived from the DEM was combined with the NDVI to map the agricultural surfaces. Twenty-one spectral classes were defined and their correspondence with land-cover themes was checked by field observations. The land-cover map provides original information on the extent of the glacial cover, debris-covered glaciers, 881 lakes, vegetation density, agricultural surfaces, urban zones and mines.