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Communities reforest in the Bolivian Amazon

Posted on 01 October 2015

WWF Bolivia, with local and national government agencies, launch new reforestation project in Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz, Bolivia – On 1 October, 2015, Bolivia celebrated National Tree Day, a day that hails the importance of forest resources and seeks to raise awareness and motivate permanent commitment to care for trees. To mark this celebration, WWF Bolivia, with the Bolivian Forest and Land Authority (ABT) and the municipality of Santa Rosa del Sara, launched a project to reforest 180 hectares along the banks of the Palacios river in the Bolivian Amazon of the department of Santa Cruz.

The project will benefit local families by improving their ability to adapt to the effects of climate change while strengthening technical capacity to manage tree nurseries. Part of the project will be implemented within the Choré Forest Reserve, an area of high biological diversity where illegal logging activity is high. 

Bolivia’s Amazon and montane forests are home to some of the most diverse life on Earth, but illegal and unsustainable logging pose a significant threat to these forests and the biodiversity they host. Bolivia is part of the Amazon deforestation front, which could lose more than a quarter of its forest cover by 2030 if forest safeguards are not implemented. 

Santa Rosa del Sara commits to conserve municipality's priority areas

Santa Rosa del Sara is a traditional agricultural municipality where cattle ranching has been expanding in recent years. Due to the economic activity, 70 per cent of the land is deforested. Local temperatures have increased and the Palacios and Piraí riverbeds are irregular, leading to sedimentation in their banks. This, in turn, has worsened the effects of the frequent flooding, affecting the communities’ agricultural areas. These dramatic environmental changes demand urgent actions. 

To address these issues, in 2014 the municipality of Santa Rosa built three tree nurseries, which have so far produced 7,000 seedlings intended for reforestation. The town administration made a significant financial contribution and entrusted the Forestry Unit to manage the tree nurseries, which are expected to produce 150,000 seedlings each year. The main nursery is located in San Luis, the local district’s boarding school, where children and youth are encouraged to participate in environmental initiatives, while caring for the seedlings. 
WWF Bolivia and ABT pledged to contribute economic and technical resources to support reforestation of the Piraí and Palacios riverbanks, as well as the delimitation of agricultural proprieties. The project seeks to consolidate the creation of a seedling bank while expanding the tree nurseries to other municipal districts. 
"This  agreement, driven by the ABT and WWF Bolivia, with the participation of other institutions, aims to advance the protection of the municipality’s natural reserves in response to livelihoods security concerns of local communities. These actions require the empowerment of communities to take care of our resources. We need to re-learn how to live with the forest," said  Pedro  Esquivel Almonds, General Secretary of Santa Rosa del Sara. 

The project launched this month is part of the “Mi  Árbol”  reforestation  campaign. Led by the Bolivian Ministry of Environment and Water, the campaign has led to the planting of 919  million seedlings across the countrysince 2012. This number represents the reforestation of at  least 10,266 hectares in nine departments. ABT implements the programme. 

For more information, contact:
Alejandra Urioste Landivar, Communications Specialist, WWF Bolivia,
Tree nursery, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
© Chloe Salmon / WWF
At least 10,266 hectares have been reforested in nine municipalities since the start of the "Mi Arbol" campaign in 2012.
Staff from WWF Bolivia, ABT and Forestry Unit, Santa Rosa del Sara.
© Juan Camilo Gomez / WWF