Incans had several key natural resources, including potatoes, corn, tuber crops and llamas. Incan societies lived in high mountainous regions characterized by harsh climates and relatively infertile soil. Consequently, there was little diversity in the natural resources available to the native peoples, but hardy crops and animals, such as llamas and alpacas, provided the sustenance they needed to survive.
Tuber crops, including potatoes, rutabagas and turnips, were among the most reliable resources available to the Incans. These crops require little water, survive on minimal amounts of nutrients, and are able to withstand temperature fluctuations, including deep frosts and scorching summers. Therefore, tubers were cultivated by the Incans en masse; these vegetables provided them with food on a daily basis, and surplus crops were preserved or stored for later use or sold for profits. Incans grew corn at lower altitudes: this crop is a bit more delicate than hardy tubers, but contains a variety of minerals and nutrients, which were critical components of the Incan diet. The Incans also used corn in ceremonies and rituals and sold surplus crops to generate revenue. Incans relied heavily on llamas for meat to supplement their diets, and used their hides and fur to make clothing and bedding. Llama dung was collected and used as fertilizer and even dried and used as a source of fuel when kindling supplies were low.