Where?

Ecosystems in Bolivia

Where is Bolivia?

Bolivia is a landlocked country in central South America, sharing both the Amazon basin and the Andean mountain range with her neighbouring countries. Bolivia’s location in the tropics combined with dramatic variations in topography result in a huge range of overlapping ecosystems, including the last great tropical dry forest in La Chiquitania. Much of the country is comprised of lowland forests, which have been hit extremely hard by fires.

Bolivia is a landlocked country in central South America, sharing both the Amazon basin and the Andean mountain range with her neighbouring countries.

Ecosystems

Bolivia’s location in the tropics combined with dramatic variations in topography result in a huge range of overlapping ecosystems, including the last great tropical dry forest; Chiquitania. Much of the country is comprised of lowland forests, which have been hit extremely hard by fires.

Within Bolivia’s rich tapestry of ecosystems are many protected national parks, all of which are under attack from forest fires…

Manuripi-Heath National Amazon Wildlife Reserve

Madidi National Park

Kaa-Iya del Gran Chaco National Park

Noel Kempff Mercado National Park

Biodiversity: Animals

Bolivia is one of he most biodiverse countries in the world. With so many rich and varied ecosystems, Bolivia is considered ”mega-diverse”. It is numbered among the ten countries containing the greatest richness of vertebrate species and among the ten countries that have the most diverse quantities of birds and mammals.

Famed species include pink flamingos, river dolphins, caimans, jaguars, pumas, coloured macaws, anacondas, squirrel monkeys, piranhas, Andean bears, giant anteaters, hundreds of varieties of birds and some unique species like the armadillo and titi monkey.

Living in harmony for millenia, these species share interdependent habitats. When one species or habitat is affected by fire, there is a destructive knock on effect on all surrounding ecosystems. This is especially pertinent in habitat defragmentation because larger predators that balance entire ecosystems rely on large unbroken hunting grounds.

A puma from a semi-deciduous forest.

River dolphins playing in Rios Blanco y Negro Wildlife Reserve.

A squirrel monkey from the Amazon rainforest.

An endangered blue throated macaw.

Indigineous Communities

Bolivia has a population of over 11.5 million people (according to the Instituto Nacional de Estadistica). Besides the more popular language of Spanish, there are many native spoken dialects, including Quechua, Aymara, Chiquitano and Guarani.

The many diverse dialects displayed by region in Bolivia.

Mestizo is the largest ethnic group in Bolivia followed by indigenous Bolivian. As part of the Amazon basin, Bolivia is home to native Amazonian tribes such as Ayoreo, Chimane, Chiquitano, Gaurani and Moxeno. There are more than 30 indigenous ethnics groups throughout Bolivia, most of whom live in sympathy with the land. The fires threaten the destruction of countless more homes, settlements, farms and rural communities.

The Ava Guarani people originate from deep in the heart of the Amazon. The Guaranis occupy the foothills between the high Andes and the Altiplano and the flat plains of the Gran Chaco. Their aim is to recover some of their ancestral lands and promote economic development, education, and health among their people.

A Bolivian farmer harvests quinoa in Puerto Perez.

The Indigenous Ayoreo community of Puesto Paz are one the most marginalised ethnic groups in Bolivia. They live in one of the worst affected areas of the disaster, the Chiquitano – Chaqueno forest.

Follow the story...

What?

What damage has been caused to forests, animals and human life? The disaster explained with stories from the ground and air.

Where?

Discover unique ecosystems, indigenous communities and animal species that are all under attack from man made fires.

How?

How deregulated agricultural practices escalated into a national disaster. Who lit the fires and how they spread.

Why?

President Evo Morales refuses to declare a national disaster. Learn the big story behind industry, trade, politics and greed.