Nature pictures from Bolivia

These images are from the tropical lowlands of eastern Bolivia, including the Chaco forest and San Miguelito ranch. The photos were taken in 2019 by Mongabay founder Rhett A. Butler.

The images are organized into galleries, the most popular of which are presented below.

The bottom of this page includes recent conservation news from Bolivia.





Study says 40% of Amazon region is potentially conserved — more than officially recorded (01 Jul 2024 20:13:10 +0000)
- A new study reveals that more than 40% of land across nine Amazonian countries is under some form of conservation management, significantly higher than the 28% reported in official records.
- The research highlights the crucial role of Indigenous peoples and local communities in conservation, with Indigenous territories covering 16% of the total land area of the nine Amazonian countries and community-managed conservation areas adding another 3.5%.
- Despite these findings, the Amazon still faces serious threats from deforestation, fire and climate change, leading some experts to question whether the global “30×30” conservation target is adequate.
- The study’s authors propose a new inventory approach to conservation planning, emphasizing the need to understand existing conservation efforts and governance structures before creating new protected areas or allocating resources.

Is the extractive sector really favorable for the Pan Amazon’s economy? (08 May 2024 14:00:19 +0000)
- The Pan Amazon is an important source for several key industrial raw materials. Although financially, its minerals sector is minor within the world economy, the economy of Amazonian countries is highly dependent on extractive activities.
- Extractive industries in the region play a strategic role. Without them, Brazil would suffer a major economic disruption from mineral revenues, and the impact would be catastrophic for Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia.
- Most other countries in the Pan Amazon region return only a portion of royalties from revenues to local jurisdictions, while corporate income taxes go to the central government. However, despite criticism on lack of investment in Amazonian hinterlands, local governments continue to support extractive industries.
- None of the money from royalties is allocated to conservation, nor is any allocated to the remediation of the environmental impacts linked to its exploitation.

Indigenous Bolivians flee homes as backlash to mining protest turns explosive (29 Apr 2024 15:23:11 +0000)
- Indigenous communities have been threatened and attacked for protesting mining pollution, water scarcity and land use change in the community collective of Acre Antequera.
- The collective, or ayllu, is an Indigenous territorial structure made up of eight Quechua communities traditionally devoted to pastoralism and agriculture.
- But open-pit mining for silver, copper, lead, zinc, tin and other minerals has used up a lot of their freshwater.
- While protesting earlier this month against the harmful impacts of mining, several women in the community said dynamite was thrown into their homes and their children weren’t allowed to attend school.

Rapid growth of Bolivia’s lithium industry creating new problems for local communities (15 Apr 2024 17:53:49 +0000)
- A lithium plant is using untested equipment and potentially mismanaging its use of freshwater, raising concerns for residents about whether the Bolivian government can responsibly manage the rapid growth of the industry.
- Activists are concerned about what they found during a recent inspection of lithium facilities in the Salar de Uyuni, a salt flat with an estimated 21 million tons of lithium.
- They called for increased transparency about what lithium facilities are able to produce and how much water and electricity they’re using.

A tiger cat gains new species designation, but conservation challenges remain (05 Apr 2024 13:38:50 +0000)
- Two Latin American tiger cat species were previously recognized by science in 2013: the southern tiger cat (Leopardus guttulus) and northern tiger cat (Leopardus tigrinus). Both are considered vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List.
- But a paper published in January 2024 described a third, new tiger cat species; Leopardus pardinoides. Dubbed the clouded tiger cat, the species is found in high-altitude cloud forests in Central and South America. This taxonomic reshuffling has major conservation implications for the group as a whole, said experts.
- In addition to proposing the new species, the authors reassessed the tiger cats’ distribution and current status. New data indicate that the small wildcats are not present in areas where they were previously assumed to be, which has slashed their remaining habitat considerably.
- Experts warn that these little-known wildcat species have long flown under the conservation radar. Urgent action is required to protect them in the long term against a litany of threats, including habitat loss, persecution and disease transmission from domestic animals.

Tropical forest loss puts 2030 zero-deforestation target further out of reach (04 Apr 2024 12:26:01 +0000)
- The overall rate of primary forest loss across the tropics remained stubbornly high in 2023, putting the world well off track from its net-zero deforestation target by 2030, according to a new report from the World Resources Institute.
- The few bright spots were Brazil and Colombia, where changes in political leadership helped drive down deforestation rates in the Amazon.
- Elsewhere, however, several countries hit record-high rates of forest loss, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bolivia and Laos, driven largely by agriculture, mining and fires.
- The report authors call for “bold global mechanisms and unique local initiatives … to achieve enduring reductions in deforestation across all tropical front countries.”

Reconciling conservation agriculture and agroforestry for sustainability (13 Mar 2024 08:16:56 +0000)
- Mongabay is publishing a new edition of the book, “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon,” in short installments and in three languages: Spanish, English and Portuguese.
- In this section, Killeen focuses on land management that seeks to reconcile the technologies of modern agriculture with the worn-out practices of organic farming.
- It also analyzes the case of livestock farmers, who are not as likely to change their land management practices, as they have an underutilized surplus that has suffered from mismanagement.
- For Killeen, smallholder farmers should be more willing to diversify such production systems and adopt practices that increase resilience. Because mitigating risk is essential to their livelihoods: without crops comes bankruptcy and hunger. This is the case in countries such as Ecuador and Peru, where smallholder farmers occupy more than 90% of previously deforested areas.

Bolivia’s El Curichi Las Garzas protected area taken over by land-grabbers (06 Mar 2024 16:09:36 +0000)
- Curichi Las Garzas is a natural refuge where thousands of wood storks (Mycteria americana) arrive each year to reproduce before continuing their journey.
- Land grabbers have destroyed 300 of the protected area’s 1,247 hectares in the municipality of San Carlos, planting rice and soybean crops.
- The encroachers claim to have endorsement from the INRA (Bolivia’s National Institute of Agrarian Reform), but the INRA has denied this and has asked the mayor to intervene. In the last three months, more than 4,500 deforestation alerts have been recorded along with a peak of 42 fire alerts, the highest number for the last 10 years.

Authorities struggle to protect Bolivian national park from drug-fueled deforestation (01 Mar 2024 02:20:15 +0000)
- Amboró National Park and Integrated Management Natural Area is located in the Santa Cruz department of central Bolivia, at the confluence of three different ecosystems: the Amazon, the northern Bolivian Chaco and the Andes.
- Amboró has been losing forest cover to illicit activities such as the cultivation of coca crops for the production of cocaine.
- National and departmental officials say Amboró authorities aren’t doing enough to keep encroachers out of the park.
- But rangers in Amboró say they don’t have enough resources to effectively enforce regulation.

In the Amazon, what happens to undesignated public lands? (29 Feb 2024 22:32:10 +0000)
- Mongabay is publishing a new edition of the book, “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon,” in short installments and in three languages: Spanish, English and Portuguese.
- Indigenous communities compete with other stakeholders with economic, demographic and political power. Among them, the livestock, agricultural and logging sectors stand out. This competition for land includes the interests of mining companies and the oil and gas industry.
- Broadly speaking, there are still important areas of public lands waiting to be assigned as protected areas, Indigenous reserves or open to some type of sustainable development.
- Therefore, it is important to understand that insecure and uncertain land is directly related to the deforestation crisis. Hoarders and settlers appropriate public lands due to the incomplete nature of land records.

This collection of nature photos from Bolivia is part of Mongabay's library of 150,000-plus images. Other images may be available beyond those displayed on this page.

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