Sustainable forestry in the Bolivian Amazon

Geographical location:

Latin America/Caribbean > South America > Bolivia

Logged Mahogany trees (Swietenia macrophylla) floated by Bolivian loggers on lower Heath river opposite Pampas del Heath nature sanctuary. Bolivia.
© WWF-Canon / André BÄRTSCHI

Summary

Bolivia is home to the largest dry tropical forests in the world and has some of the wildest parts of the Amazon; home to pumas, jaguar tapirs, giant anteaters and many other animal and plant species. But today, rapid deforestation threatens large parts of the rainforest.

WWF is working with indigenous communities in the Bolivian Southwest Amazon as well as the adjoining Chiquitano dry forest to combat illegal logging and promote sustainable forest management, including achieving forest certification for timber products.

Background

Capacity building for local indigenous communities will focus mainly on skills for sustainable forest management and trade alliances with the corporate sector.

To reduce illegal logging, efforts will be made to affect the purchasing patterns of the main buyers of timber products, in order to generate a preferential demand for sustainable produced and/or certified timber and timber products, creating market mechanisms to reduce illegal logging.

Both aims are relevant to the creation of sustainable income alternatives for marginalized and extremely poor sectors, such as the Amazonian indigenous communities. Efforts will also be made to support consolidation of Bolivian policies to support legal timber production and trade.

Objectives

- Capacity building to focus on sustainable forest management

- Introduction of market mechanisms against illegal logging.

Solution

- At least 2 key conservation areas in the SWA ecoregion are less threatened because they are surrounded by a buffer zone of sustainable and profitable forest management initiatives, supported by a network of coordinating NGOs and initiatives.

- The communities and associations involved in the project have improved their forest management, are in better conditions to achieve and maintain FSC certification, leading to improvements in their quality of life.

- A national chain of custody certification scheme of sustainable timber products is established, compatible with FSC certification promoted by the WWF Network and Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN). Its certification will be required for all government acquisitions of timber products.

- A group of national chain-of-custody (COC) certified producers, retailers and wooden products shops has been formed and is successfully promoting its products among corporative companies and other important buyer groups in the national market-place, thus preparing themselves for international markets and FSC certification.

- Local market demand for legally produced timber and wood products has encouraged illegal producers to abide by the law and begin sustainable management plans.