For its conservation, sustainable Bolivia promotes community-based tourism. In other words, tourism is offered as an economic alternative to rural communities, with the aim of generating complementary income to the economic activities of the communities and protecting and revaluing the local cultural and natural resources, being Sustainable with the environment.
1. ESTABLISHEMENT OF A MUNICIPAL PROTECTED AREA
The establishment of the 20,000-hectare Aquicuana Reseve in 2016 is the first big environmental and social move of the project. Currently, the Reserve holds 20,000 hectares and now also includes the two local rural communities of Warnes and San José (official as of 2018).
In this context, several actors within the Reserve are working to reforest it. A mentionable project is that of Pisatahua. This organization has made it a habit to give its volunteers and retreat participant the opportunity to plant a tree before departing.
2. RESEARCH ON BIODIVERSITY
The existence of the Reserve also holds importance because of its high biodiversity. In addition to its high amount of biodiversity, it is also a home to many endangered species. One of these is the Masked Antpitta (Hylopezus auricularis), a bird considered as vulnerable by the IUCN, which only exists in fragments of Riberaltas surrounding and the Reserve. In addition, the Reserve is home to animals such as the Jaguar (panthera onca), the Giant Brazilian Otter (pteronura brasiliensis) and the Peruvian Spider Monkey (ateles chamek) which all face extinction. Thus, we stress the significance of its conservation.
The establishment of the Aquicuana Reserve seeks to promote the idea of sustainable land management where industry has made logging and slash and burn farming the status quo. The local communities have not had access to alternative economic opportunities therefore the goal is to create a plan that is both economically viable and environmentally sound, shifting the economy from logging to community-based ecotourism.
While every guest that comes to stay on the Reserve plants a native tree, long term plans include the planting of thousands more an edible landscape with fruit trees. Additionally, with the help of local correspondents and foreign scientists, research is underway to identify and tag the thousands of native tree species present on the reserve.
We are aiming to give a professional training to some members of the local communities to patrol in Aquicuana Reserve. These rangers will have the knowledge and equipment to protect the area. And, most importantly, they will understand the importance of conservation, restlessly teaching them to visitors as well as to local people.
They are going also to be in charge to control the access in the reserve and avoid uncontrolled hunting, fishing and prevent any other delinquent behaviour.
This could create new sources of incomes for locals interested to share the secret of the Amazon to visitors.
5. ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
In early 2018 the NGO Sustainable Bolivia launched an ecological club in the Warnes School. Through activities such as creating a compost or setting up cleaning days this club raises awareness and, thus, gives the future adults of the Warnes community the possibility to live in more responsible and sustainable ways.
In addition, the volunteers of Sustainable Bolivia started different project of education and awareness in Riberalta and more especially in the orphanages. More people have begun to understand the importance of an intact ecosystem through efforts of countless people teaching and showing them. There certainly is still a long way to go, but, as we all know, every journey starts with a first step. If you would like to contribute to this important part of conservation, please have a look at the Sustainable Bolivia’s volunteers work.
The Amazon is recognized as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world and it represents more than half of the rainforests of the world. The Amazonian area is spread over 9 countries in Latin America and Sustainable Bolivia wants to give you the opportunity to visit one of its natural reserve.
Ecotourism helps protect natural habitats and pristine environments. It allows countries and communities to build their economies without harming the environment, which means that local wildlife can thrive and visitors can enjoy untouched destinations. Local jobs are only one of the economic benefits of ecotourism. As well as providing an income for staff who work at ecotourism sites, ecotourism allows them the opportunity to receive training and new skills.