Helping Create the Porvenir Protected Area and Managing Conservation Efforts Within Bajo Madidi
September 22, 2020
For the past year, we had been working on legal and technical requirements needed to create the 78,000-acre Porvenir Protected Area in the Pando region of Bolivia, and on creating the necessary framework to support its long-term management and protection. This work paid off; even within the challenges of the pandemic, the municipal government officially declared Porvenir a protected area in early October. Additionally another protected area nearby, Puerto Rico, is in the final stages of being declared and we expect the process to be completed in the next month. These areas combined will protect almost 400,000 acres of forests.
We’ve also been helping local governments and communities with the needed conservation efforts in the recently-created conservation area of Bajo Madidi, which we helped establish last year in the La Paz department of Bolivia.
In all of these areas, the process for their creation and management requires an important baseline of information on the biodiversity they contain and ecosystem services that they provide, so that their management will keep these centuries-old forests healthy and productive. We provide the communities and the government with this key ecological information, including physical ecosystem information, inventories of flora and fauna, climatological analysis, identification of threatened species species with the potential for sustainable use.
Given the heavy amount of field work needed, it has been a challenge working within the global pandemic and quarantine in Bolivia, which has kept our field experts from making the necessary expeditions to carry out this work. However, we adapted our scientific methodology to continue to move forward as much as possible given these extraordinary conditions. We developed a survey of all of the studies, literature and collections made over the past years and we are using geomatic tools (geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing using satellites, and photogrammetry for earth mapping using drones) to gather data on certain groups of flora and fauna in both areas. Thus, we had sufficient information to support the government in the formal declaration process for Porvenir to become a protected area.
Special thanks to The Sheldon and Audrey Katz Foundation for their generous support that makes this project possible.