Conservation of the Bolivian Amazon (Southwest Amazon Ecoregion)

Geographical location:

Latin America/Caribbean > South America > Bolivia

A Brazilian nut collector within the SWA forests.
© WWF Bolivia / Eduardo Ruiz

Summary

The Southwest Amazon ecoregion in Bolivia includes humid tropical ecosystems found in the Northern most department of Pando as well as Northern sections of the Beni, La Paz, and Santa Cruz departments. The conservation goals in this region are focused on decreasing fragmentation and degradation of the wide range of forest types that are encompassed by the ecoregion as well as protecting the extraordinary biological diversity found in these forests. Ecoregional planning strategies have been used to highlight biological and socio-economic characteristics of the region and to establish criteria for prioritizing areas for conservation efforts within the Bolivian Southwest Amazon. Current programs are focused on these priority regions, utilizing diverse strategies such as protected area consolidation, environmental education, community level capacity building, and natural resource management and monitoring to design a biologically and socio-economically viable conservation network that insures protection of the amazingly wide range of biodiversity encountered in this ecoregion.

One major transboundary activity within this project in the so called "Forest and Life" project:

In November 2004 the project “Forest and Life, Integral Vision for the Amazon’s Development” was officially launched. Aiming to optimize economic benefits based on forest resources, specific efforts will be directed at aspects regarding land management, competitiveness and participation in local productive activities - with emphasis on Brazil nuts - including influencing public policies. The scope of the project reaches into Amazonian portions of Bolivia, Peru and Brazil.

WWF is responsible for the implementation of the project, but its design and follow-up is shared among a consortium of 6 international organizations: WWF, CARE, Conservation International (CI), Dutch Service for Development Cooperation (SNV), The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Tropenbos International (TBI). Approximately 1.5 million USD forthcoming from the Dutch Embassy in Bolivia for 15 months are being invested in the project, which also contemplates the development of a 5 year proposal for the region.

Background

The Southwest Amazon program has as its focus planning and managing conservation activities in the Amazonian region of Bolivia as well as coordination efforts with WWF offices in Peru and Brazil to develop a conservation plan at the ecoregional Level. Based on the overall ecoregional conservation objectives, priority areas have been defined within the Bolivian amazon. The conservation of these priority areas and their natural resources will insure representation of the wide range of biodiversity found within the Southwest Amazonian Moist Tropical Forests in protected or managed areas.

Activities such as focal species investigations, community-based resource monitoring and evaluation, conservation plan development for indigenous territories, improved administration and protection of protected areas, the creation of private reserves, and implementation of resource management practices in buffer zones will be used to develop a strategy for conservation that takes into consideration the needs of species and habitats as well as the socio-economic opportunities and limitations.

Objectives

a) Identify priority areas for conservation within the Bolivian Amazon.

b) Support establishment of new protected areas or private reserves where needed to complete a rational design of protected areas in priority regions.

c) Ensure adequate protection of existing protected areas in the national system.

d) Promote sustainable or managed resource use and imploy systems to monitor and evaluate effects of management plans on resource abundance and availability and on habitat ecology.

e) Increase public awareness of the importance of conserving natural resources and amazonian forests in Bolivia (economic and cultural values).

f) Create conservation communication system to publicize and address environmental threats.

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