LOWLAND INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES
Multiple different ethnic groups have inhabited the lowland regions of Bolivia for centuries, including: Guaraní, Chiquitano, Guarayo, Sirionó, Moxeño, Tsimán, Tacana, Araona, Chacóbo, Esse Ejé, Ayoreodé, and others; groups occupy lands from the humid Amazon to the seasonally dry Gran Chaco. Most are subsistence agriculturalists and supplement their diet with resources harvested from the surrounding forests or aquatic systems (see link to Forest Products Sector). Land is held jointly by communities; families occupy plots according to need and social rank, but garden plots rarely exceed two hectares. Communities are recognized in satellite images by the presence of clusters of small patch deforestation surrounded by second growth forest; settlements are usually located along rivers or other bodies of water. Collateral information was derived from cartographic coverage of population centers provided by the Bolivian census and personal knowledge of the country by the authors.
Lowland Indigenous Communities – Urubichá
The Guarayo Community in northern Santa Cruz is on the edge of the agricultural frontier, where subsistence indigenous farmers live in juxtaposition with extensive and intensive cattle ranchers. This region is experiencing change due to the expansion of the agriculture frontier and competition for land by Agro Industrial Corporations and Andean Indigenous Colonists
Lowland Indigenous Communities – Manipuri
Scattered forest settlements are situated along the Rio Manipuri, a tributary of the Madre de Dios River; resident families practice subsistence agriculture in combination with fishing and hunting; most also participate in the seasonal harvest of Brazil nuts.
Lowland Indigenous Communities – Riberalta
The town of Riberalta is surrounded by Lowland Indigenous Communities from the Tacana and Chacóbo ethnic groups. Deforestation rates peaked in the late 1980s as migration increased as rubber tapers were forced to abandon remote stations following the decision by Brazil to end subsidies for Amazonian rubber. Deforestation rates are increasing again after showing a decline in the 1990s.
Lowland Indigenous Communities - San Ignacio de Velasco
The provincial capital of San Ignacio de Velasco is surrounded by numerous Chiquitano villages. Land title is held by the community and families practice subsistence agriculture using slash and burn; the abundance of second growth forest is the result of their use of a rotational fallow to manage soil fertility and weeds. The region has a natural mosaic of forest and savanna.
ANDEAN INDIGENOUS COLONISTS
Migration of Aymara and Quechua speaking people from the Andean highlands to the lowlands began in the late 1950s and early 1960s with the construction of highways that linked the lowlands with the Bolivian Altiplano. There are four major areas of settlement each with unique climatic and soil characteristics that influence the selection of agricultural production systems. Title for 50 hectares properties are ceded to individual families that are organized in syndicates to facilitate the colonization and land titling processes. Slash and burn agriculture predominates and a large portion of land is in fallow; mechanization and land consolidation has increased in regions that grow crops for national markets. Areas colonized by Andean Indigenous Colonists can be identified in satellite images by the pattern of densely clustered, small (< 10 ha), irregularly shaped deforestation patches on landscapes with abundant secondary forest.
Andean Indigenous Colonists - San Julian
San Julian is one of four major colonization zones; it was established between 1976 and 1984. It is laid out on a rectangular grid of roads; at each intersection is a village or "Nucleo". Each nucleo is composed of 50 hectare land-holdings that extend outward from the village square to create the radial land-use pattern which identifies this as a planned colonization zone. The older "nucleos" closer to the main highway (East) have become mechanized, as evidenced by the brighter reflectance from bare soil; in contrast the younger and more remote "nucleos" with an abundance of second growth vegetation (bright green in the Landsat Image) characteristic of the slash and burn agricultural model.
Andean Indigenous Colonist – Chapare
This area was settled in the 1960s following the construction of a modern highway linking the Chapare with the city of Cochabamba. Very high rainfall regimes (> 6000 mm) limit the potential for mechanized agriculture. The major crops are coca, and a variety of fruits such as citrus, pineapple and banana; the landscape has an abundance of second growth forest indicative of the slash and burn technology.
Andean Indigenous Colonists - Alto Beni
This broad synclinal valley in the Andean foothills has received tens of thousands of immigrants since settlement began in the 1960s. The area has a diversified agricultural economy that includes staples such as rice and corn for local consumption and a variety of fruits that it produces for the city of La Paz, as well as coffee, cacao, and tea for export.
Andean Indigenous Colonists – Yapacaní
The area was colonized by immigrants from the Andean highlands in the 1960s. The major crops are rice, which is largely produced by manual labor; production is limited by very high rainfall regimes, as well as lack of technology and access to capital. Slash and burn agriculture and rotational fallow have led to an extensive deforestation and low intensity land-use. The forested mountains in the background are part of Amboró National Park
YUNGUEÑO INDIGENOUS FARMERS
Aymara and Quechua communities have occupied the humid tropical valleys on the eastern slope of the Andes (known as the Yungas) for centuries. Yungueño Indigenous Farmers maintain close commercial and cultural ties with highland communities and urban centers; production systems are based on perennial crops, such as citrus, coffee and coca. Land is held by families and properties are seldom larger than a few dozen hectares.
Yungueño Indigenous Farmers - La Paz
Aymara communities have occupied the humid tropical valleys on the eastern slope of the Andes (known as the Yungas) for centuries. Yungueño Farmers are the major producers of legal coca leaf for national markets recurrent fire has prevented large parts of previously deforested landscapes to regenerate as second growth forest and species poor grasslands are widespread.
Yungueño Farmers – Cochabamba
The humid valleys near Cochabamba have been farmed for decades, if not longer, by Quechua indigenous communities that commercialize their production in the city of Cochabamba.
Farmers with a European heritage have cultivated land or raised cattle near the lowland city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra since its establishment in the 16th Century. This region has been the center of Bolivia’s recurrent booms in mechanized agriculture, starting with cattle, rice, and sugar cane in the 1960s, which was diversified by cotton in the 1970s and soy in the 1990s. Family farms are the predominant form of land tenure, with property size varying from tens to more than a thousand hectares. The region has relatively fertile alluvial soils and plentiful but not over abundant rains (1000 – 1800 mm) that makes it the most important agricultural region in the country. Agricultural production is linked to urban markets and is part of a value added production chain that incorporates both pre and post harvest components.
Cruceño Farmers - Río Grande
The last lands to be cleared were those adjacent to the Río Grande, which periodically floods surrounding fields.
Traditional Farmers - Tarija
The small farmers in the Chaco region of Tarija are similar in culture and production systems as the much larger group in Santa Cruz
Cruceño Farmers – Mineros
The Alluvial Plan situated between the Río Piraí and the Río Grande is the center of the Santa Cruz diversified production system that includes both large and small farmers. Sugar cane is an important crop and Mineros has a large sugar mill. Other important crops are soy, rice, and cotton.
Cruceño Farmers – Montero
Poor soil management practices in the 1970s led to soil compaction and many of the lands that were originally cleared for row crops are now used as grazing lands. Recently, land owners have been recovering lands by using sub-soil plows to alleviate the soil compaction and recover these lands for agriculture
Japanese immigrants first came to Santa Cruz, Bolivia in the mid 1950s. Family farms have a diversified production system that includes crop rotation, minimum tillage, and livestock grazing. Properties range between 250 and 500 hectares and can be identified in satellite images by rectangular or square shapes. The colonies are situated on rich alluvial soils and enjoy precipitation conducive to double cropping; farmers have formed cooperatives to obtain credit, seek technical assistance, purchase supplies, and commercialize production.
Japanese Colonists – Yapacaní
The colony of San Juan de Yapacaní was established by immigrants from Nagasaki in the late 1950s. The degree of mechanization and land-use intensity is a stark contrast to the Andean Indigenous Colonists situated to the west of the Río Yapacaní.
The Japanese are considered by some to be Bolivia's most successful farmers, as evidenced by this area which has been under cultivation for almost 50 years. Major crops are rice, citrus and soy; as well as raising poultry and cattle.
Japanese Colonists – Okinawa
These medium size farms on the West Bank of the Río Grande are situated on some of the best soils in Bolivia in an area with low climate risk. Japanese farmers have led technological innovation including soy and irrigation.
These small farmers first came to Bolivia in the late 1960s from Mennonite communities in Paraguay, Canada and Mexico. Colonies are formed by families that pool resources to purchase and subdivide a single large landholding; family farms are small, averaging between about 100 and 150 hectares. Mennonites practice a form of agriculture based on religious beliefs that prescribe the use of selected technologies; in Bolivia, most own tractors and farm implements while eschewing the use of rubber tires, trucks and automobiles. Mennonites cultivate cash crops such as soy, sorghum, sesame and cotton; they use chemical inputs and genetically modified organisms, but have been slow to adapt minimum tillage. Mennonite colonies are situated on the alluvial plain situated to the east of the Río Grande or on the piedmont south of the city Santa Cruz de la Sierra, -- areas characterized by low precipitation and prolonged dry season. Their communities can easily be identified in satellite images because homesteads are established along a single secondary road with narrow parallel fields that extend from the homesteads
Mennonite Colonists - Los Troncos
Older Colonies are notable by the complete conversion of all natural habitat and the high intensity of land-use with almost 100 percent dedicated to raw crops.
Mennonite Colonists - Southern Expansion Zone
This colony is established in the Southern sector of the Alluvial Plain of the Eastern Expansion Zone where climate risk is highest.
Mennonite Colonists - Piedmont
The large colony situated south of Santa Cruz and west of the Río Grande is one of the oldest colonies in Bolivia
Mennonite Colonists – Parapetí
The communities 1on the Andean Piedmont is in an area of high climate risk and sandy soils
New Mennonite Colony – San Jose
This is a new Mennonite Colony established after 2004 (post analysis). Farm houses are situated along a road that unites the colony, with each family farming a strip of land is situated behind the homestead.
Older Mennonite Colony near San Jose
This is one of the older Mennonite colonies, which was established between 1976 and 1984. The Mennonites did not yet understand the sols and climate of Bolivia and this colony is established on the edge of the Brazilian Shield with poor soils and a strong dry season. The properties to the north of the colony and those situated to the west of the highway are Intensive Cattle Ranchers.
AGRO INDUSTRIAL CORPORATIONS
Local businessmen and foreign investors have brought technological expertise from Brazil and the United States. Soy processing facilities are owned and operated by multinational corporations, as well as regional companies from Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia.
Agro Industrial Corporations - Eastern Expansion Zone
The alluvial plain situated east of the Río Grande is dominated by large-scale farms that grow soy and other crops for national and international markets. Most have maintained strips of native vegetation as wind breaks, which were a condition of the loans made in the early 1990s, as part of the "Eastern Lowlands Project" of the World Bank. Many farms were still being established or expanding when this Landsat image was taken in 1999 or 2000. The Landscape is shared with Mennonite Colonies that are much more intensely farmed and which lack wind breaks.
Agro Industrial Corporation - Northern Expansion Zone
The northern sector is more humid than the eastern sector and can grow soy during both the summer and winter cycles; nonetheless, farms rotate with other crops, particularly maize, to control pests. Expansion in the Northern Expansion Zone is constrained by seasonal flooding. The landscape south of the agroindustrial zone is dominated by the smaller properties of Cruceño Farmers
INTENSIVE CATTLE RANCHERS
Cultivated pastures have a much higher carrying capacity when compared to native grassland this allows higher stocking rates, improved animal husbandry, and the introduction of genetically improved breeds. Properties range from a few hundred to more than 50,000 hectares. Intensive Cattle Ranches occurs in areas where mechanized agriculture is not feasible because it is too dry hilly or the landscape to hilly; consequently, land clearing is solely dedicated to pasture establishment. Most of the investment capital comes from urban centers, particularly Santa Cruz de la Sierra; however, Brazilians investors have been attracted by the low land prices and the strong value of the Brazilian currency.
Intensive Cattle Ranchers - El Carmen
Originally pastures were established on deforested lands as a means to compliment native grasses; but in recent years, ranchers have been converting Cerrado savannas and scrubland as a means to improve productivity.
Intensive Cattle Ranchers - Gran Chaco
It is too dry for mechanized agriculture in the Gran Chaco region, thus most land clearing in this part of the alluvial plain of the Río Grande is for pasture establishment. Ironically, this intensive cattle model using cultivated grasses is replacing an extensive cattle model based on native shrubs and trees as forage. Efforts to use centre pivot irrigation systems (circular patterns) have not been economically viable due to the cost of fuel.
Intensive Cattle Ranchers – Cobija
The intensive cattle production model that is widespread in Acre, Brazil is being implemented near Cobija the capital of the Department of the Pando, a region known for its high forest and production of Brazil nuts (known as Amazon nuts in Bolivia).
Intensive Cattle Ranchers - San Javier
The town of San Javier has a long tradition of raising beef cattle on the native grasslands situated south of the village, which was established by the Jesuits in the 17th Century. However, the construction of a cheese factory in the 1970s and the introduction of cultivated grasses led to the development of a more intensive cattle raising model.
EXTENSIVE CATTLE RANCHERS
Cattle ranches that rely on the forage resources of native vegetation remain one of the most important agricultural production systems in eastern Bolivia and include large estancias owned by corporations and individuals, both domestic and foreign, as well as small family farms. Stocking rates are low and animal husbandry is rudimentary; habitat conversion in recent years has come from land holders shifting to cultivated pastures to improve productivity.
Extensive Cattle Ranchers – Rogagaua
The Llanos de Moxos are a mosaic of savanna, wetland and forest. The traditional cattle ranching model has been effective in producing beef based on native habitat. The habitat diversity on these landscapes reflects differences in water chemistry, inundation regime, fire frequency, and grazing intensity.
Extensive Cattle Ranchers – Chiquitania
The native savannas on the Precambrian Shield in Bolivia (known as Chiquitania) have been used for centuries as forage for raising cattle
Extensive Cattle Ranchers – Beni
The native grasses of the vast seasonally inundated savannas of the Llanos de Moxos have been the mainstay of Bolivia's beef cattle production system for centuries. The Beni continues to be the largest producer of beef cattle in the country, in spite of the growth of the intensive production model; many of the calves raised in the Beni are sold to Intensive Cattle Ranchers in Santa Cruz
Extensive Cattle Ranchers - Gran Chaco
The traditional beef cattle production model in the semi-arid Gran Chaco is based on the native shrubs and trees that cattle browse for forage. Each of the small deforestation patches is a cattle ranch station; production is limited by a lack of both water and forage, causing cows to loose weight during the dry season.
FOREST PRODUCTS SECTOR
This category of economic actor includes businesses, cooperatives, and indigenous communities that depend on forest resources for the raw materials that supply their production systems. This may seem an unlikely combination, as the two principal subgroups are private companies with long-term concessions on state lands and indigenous groups that hold title to forest reserves; however, both groups share the common habit of using forest resources. This includes mainly timber, but also Brazil nut, rubber, palm hearts, and palm thatch, as well as wildlife and fish resources. Geographically, the Forest Products Sector spans all of eastern Bolivia, including the humid forests of the Southwest Amazon, the montane forests of the eastern slope of the Andes, and the seasonally dry forests of Chiquitania.
Forest Products Sector – Pando
The Pando has long been the center of Bolivia's non-timber forest product sector, principally rubber and Brazil nuts. Timber only became important in the late 1990s when Mahogany was extirpated from the rest of Bolivia's forests. Today's timber sector is expanding the use of other tropical species.
Forest Products Sector – Manuripi
The Manuripi - Heath Biological Reserve is a multiple use area, where forest conservation and management are both priorities.
Forest Products Sector - Bosque Chimanes
The Chimanes Forest Reserve is shared by commercial companies with long-term concessions and indigenous communities that have been deeded land as communal reserves. Both groups hope to sustainably manage the reserve for timber extraction.
Logging roads and timber mills established in the 1980s are visible in this Landsat image taken in 1999 or 2000.
Forest Products Sector - Mamoré
The Mamoré River is a forest corridor that transects the Llanos de Moxos; its wetland habitats provide essential ecosystem and economic services that support the domestic fishing industry, while the river itself is a key transportation link.
Forest Products Sector - Baures
Logging roads are usually the first step in the settlement process. This could well be the next major deforestation front in Bolivia.
Forest Products Sector - Bajo Paragua
The Bajo Paragauá Forest Reserve is managed by private companies that have long-term concessions to state lands. The Bolivian government has announced plans to settle 5000 Andean Indigenous Colonists into this region.
Forest Product Sector - Chiquitania
The Chiquitano dry forest contains perhaps of the world's largest reserve of extremely hard-wooded timber species. This locality is within a commercial logging concession that pays royalties to the state for the exploitation of timber.
Forest Products Sector -Pantanal Region
The seasonal forests of the Pantanal region are threatened over the short-term by the exploitation of vegetable charcoal to supply pig iron factories in Brazil. Land-holders are clearing land, making charcoal, and - simultaneously - establishing Intensive Cattle Ranches.
Forest Products Sector –Southern Andes
The front ranges of the Andes between Santa Cruz and the Argentine Border are a mix of multiple use national and regional protected areas, indigenous reserves, forest concessions and private properties. Forest habitat varies from deciduous to cloud forest depending on altitude and apsect.
RESTRICTED USE ZONE
This category includes national protected areas that enjoy complete protection and e forest exploitation is strictly prohibited; in most cases, the area is uninhabited.
Restrict Use Zone - Kaa-Iya del Gran Chaco
Bolivia's largest protected area is co-managed by the Guaraní communities. The linear feature in the Northern sector of the Park is the Bolivian - Brazil Gas Pipeline; an endowment to finance park management was created as part of the environmental management plan that accompanied its construction in the late 1990s.
Restricted Use Zone – Madidi
Two national parks (Madidi and Apolobamba) extend from lowland forests on the piedmont to the snow capped peaks of the Cordillera of Apolobamba. They are situated next to the Tambopata / Bahuaha - Sonené protected area complex in Peru, creating a protected area complex of global importance.
Restricted Use Zone - Carrasco
The montane cloud forests of Carrasco National Park are situated adjacent to the Chapare colonization zone.
Restricted Use Zone - Amboró
Amboró has been zoned to distinguish between strict protection (National Park) and multiple use areas (Integrated Natural Management Area). The cloud forests are situated on the front ranges behind the piedmont, where Andean Indigenous Colonists have settled, and intergrades’ with semi-arid montane habitats where irrigation agriculture is predominant.
Restricted Use Zone - Noel Kempff
Noel Kempff Mercado National Park is an IUCN Category II protected area, where the extraction of natural resources, such as timber and wildlife, is strictly forbidden, except for traditional use by indigenous communities.
Urban Areas - Santa Cruz de la Sierra
The urban economy is intimately linked to agricultural production, both in the pre- and post- harvest components. Santa Cruz has experienced consistent growth over four decades, from a small town of 70,000 inhabitants in the late 1960s to almost 1.5 million in 2005. This growth has left its mark on urban planning via the highway rings for which the city is known.