© WWF / Gustavo YBARRA
Bolivia contains over 40 million ha of relatively intact natural forest with very high biodiversity, which combined with a poor economy, presents monumental challenges in conservation and the establishment of mechanisms for sustainable development.
Eight of the Global 200 ecoregions - regions identified by WWF as globally important and in need of immediate conservation - cross into Bolivian territory: Southwest Amazon Moist Forests, Pantanal, Flooded Beni Grasslands, Central Andean Yungas, Central Andean Dry Puna, High Andean Lakes, Chiquitano Dry Forests, and Flooded Forests.
Home to the exceptionally rich Southwest Amazon Moist Forests
Some of these ecoregions expand into other countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, and Venezuela. Among the largest and richest regions that extend into Bolivian territory is the Southwest Amazon, which alone has 239 unique landscape units covering 24% of Bolivia’s territory.
Bolivia is considered to be a melting pot of biological diversity. It houses thousands of animal's species, of which 250 species of vertebrate are endangered or threatened, and holds close to 20,000 species of plants.
Bolivia has a high variation of topographical features and natural habitats. Compared to its neighbours, much of its landscapes, lakes, and rivers have not been explored nor dramatically altered by human progress, which makes these areas ideal for conservation.
The most protected areas, largest area of certified forests
17% of Bolivia's surface area is legally established as protected areas, which ranks it among the countries with the most protected areas. Bolivia also has the largest area of certified natural tropical forests (more than 2 million ha) in the world. Approximately 6 million ha are sustainable managed under forest management plans.