Environment, taking care of our environment, Trade

Bolivia President’s “New Gold” Still Turning Amazon Forest into Ashes

As fire rages on in Bolivia’s section of the Amazon Forest, many are looking closely into Bolivia’s new trade agreements with China, particularly in the supply of agricultural products. After all, China’s decision to stop buying agricultural products from U.S. farmers, resulted to the Asian country’s increased demand to the farmers of Bolivia.

 

 

About a decade ago, President Evo Morales did not have the support of farmers. Yet everything changed when he made good on his promise to increase Bolivia’s agricultural space; promising as much as 13 million hectares by 2025. It was obvious that the only way this is possible is by clearing out large sections of Bolivia’s part of the Amazon Forest for agricultural use.

Eventually, President Evo’s government became a staunch supporter of ranching and farming businesses, turning agricultural commodities into the “new gold” that will replace natural gas, as Bolivia’s key export product.

Starting with several government pardons on those charged with illegal deforestation, the pardons served as a sign of encouragement for farmers to push further into the deeper recesses of the Amazon. In fact only this year, the Bolivian president authorized the clearings in the Amazonian section that is still raging with fire.

 

Now as if not having had a hand in the widespread destruction of the forest, Morales tweeted concerns for “Mother Earth;” of how people cannot survive without her. This was Morales’s original political stance before his government started focusing on agriculture as the new solution for Bolivia’s economic prosperity.

Still No Signs of Remorse coming from Leaders of Agricultural Businesses

Morales’ latest tweet has made agricultural business leaders edgy, presumably fearing that the support that President Morales had given them previously will be taken away in light of local and international pressures. The agricultural business is urging the Bolivian leader not to give in, to demands of imposing a clamp down on their industry, despite the results of the wildfires created by their clearing operations.

 

 

Oscar Pereyra, president of Bolivia’s prominent cattle-growing association, defends the laws introduced by the Morales’ administration as well thought out, and that they should not be repealed. Pereyra went as far as saying

“We cannot kill the goose that lays the golden eggs for the agricultural industry”

Perhaps, they are hoping against hope that President Morales is merely saying what the G7 leaders led by French President Macron wanted to hear, as a concession to the $22 million financial aid raised in the G7 summit to help Bolivia put out the raging forest fires.

Environment

IUCN Red List of Bolivia’s Endangered Animals

Established in 1964, the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN Red List has evolved into becoming the most comprehensive source of global information used by wildlife departments and other government agencies, non-governmental conservation organizations, natural resource planners, business communities, educational institutions and students,

As it is our aim to disseminate information about Bolivia and its wildlife in particular, the AllTimeList.com has provided us with a compilation of animals specific to Bolivia that have been reported as endangered in the IUCN Red List.
.
Bolivia, being the fifth largest South American country with its tropical location, as well as its striking variations in climate and topography, has provided the country with a broad ecosystem ideal for animal and plant biodiversity. In fact Bolivia’s biodiversity of wildlife is one of the greatest in the world.

Yet like most countries endowed with an abundance of natural resources, Bolivia has pressing environmental issues that have affected some animal species. Although the Bolivian government has made efforts to address concerns such as deforestation, soil degradation and water pollution, the existence of a number of plant and animal wildlife is currently threatened due to loss of habitat and impaired biodiversity.

List of Bolivia Animals Included in the Latest IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

It has been several years now since four of Bolivia’s animal species have been included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Sadly, there has been a continuing decline in their respective population due to the decreasing number of matured animals found thriving in their natural habitats.
.

1. Bolivian Chinchilla Rat (Abrocoma Boliviensis)

This animal was last assessed as critically endangered in March 2016. It was last seen in Bolivia’s forests in 2013 and is feared that it has become locally extinct. Although this small animal was previously affected by the fur trade, evidence of the chinchillas becoming prey to local snake species has been documented.

2. Bolivian Spinetail (Cranioleuca Henricae)

A bird species last assessed as endangered in October 2016. It has remained in the list of endangered Bolivian animals, because the very small range of suitable habitat in which they thrive, has been severely degraded and fragmented.

3. Apolo Cotinga (Phibalura Boliviana)

Another bird species last assessed in Oct 2016. This bird is endemic to Bolivia and went unrecorded for 98 years until it was rediscovered in the year 2000. However, it has been reported under the endangered category since 2013 as its single, very small population is likely to decline rapidly due to habitat loss. This bird species has disappeared from former localities because their habitats are no longer in existence due to large-scale clearance and burning of areas used for cattle-ranching and agriculture purposes.

4. Beni Titi Monkey (Plecturocebus Modestus)

The Beni Titi Monkey is endemic to Bolivia and was last assessed as endangered in June 30, 2008. Although no longer encountered or present in the Petaca and La Laguna regions, a very small portion of this animal is included in the Beni Biosphere Reserve area. The groups of Titi Monkeys last surveyed in 2006 were fragmented around cattle ranches, a condition that suggests the species existence is threatened by forest loss and habitat fragmentation leading to a decline in the number of mature species.

Environment, Trade

Bolivia’s Hopes for Meat Boom via China Trade, Raise Deforestation Concerns

Recently, Bolivia’s livestock farmers received news that the country will soon be exporting cattle meat to China. However, the news also raised environmental concerns that the new market will worsen the current state of deforestation in Bolivia, unless livestock farmers migrate to more sustainable methods of production.

In 2014, the Friends of Nature Foundation (FAN) published a report stating that the previous perception of agricultural expansion, particularly for soybean as being the main cause of deforestation, had changed. According to FAN Director, Natalia Calderón, from the years 2000 to 2013, their analyses showed that more than 60% of Bolivia’s deforestation was caused by livestock.

 

Ms. Calderon, who is an expert on conservation and climate change said that currently they are wary of the planned expansion of agricultural spaces intended for cattle raising, as they have recently detected a broadening of deforested areas as such those in the Charagua and Chiquitania regions in Santa Cruz. That is without considering that talks about incentives for cattle production, adequate monitoring and control, as well as technical assistance and technology, have yet to take place.

Bolivian Cattle Ranchers’ Projections to Meet the Forthcoming Meat Boom

Actually, in April 26, of this year, Bolivian Foreign Minister Diego Pary, and the Chinese Minister of Customs, Ni Yuefeng, had already agreed in writing to a protocol of opening China’s doors to Bolivia for its beef exports. Beef consumption among the 1.4 billion Chinese people has risen sharply, from which Bolivian cattle ranchers are hoping to gain huge benefits.

Gary Rodríguez, President of the Instituto Boliviano de Comercio Exterior (IBCE) expressed support for the beef exporters. He projects that the forthcoming beef trade with China will more than double, since they expect that in as short as half a year, cattle ranchers will be selling the equivalent of what they have been selling in the past 10 years. Rodriguez estimates that

“By the year 2020, we would be selling US$150 million to the world only for the export of cattle meat. However, the projection is to move from a cattle herd of 10 million to 17 million within a span of 10 years.”

In connection with this projection, cattle ranchers presented their goals to President Evo Morales in January, via the Livestock Development Plan 2020-2030, which includes planned expansions from the current 13 million hectares for livestock to 20 million hectares.

Bolivia’s cattle ranchers aim to export 20,000 tons of beef to China in the second half of this year. The projection will make roughly about US$75 million, or five times more than the entire amount generated in 2018, based on the figures furnished by the Bolivian Foreign Trade Institute (IBCE). Come 2020, the goal is to increase to 40,000 tons.

Benian Meat, the “Bolivia Natural Beef” Seen as a Model for Sustainable Beef Production

In Beni, farmers contend that their livestock industry is not a main cause of the country’s deforestation. Beni has extensive plains covered by pampas and savannas for cattle pasture enhanced by humid tropical forests located on gentle piedmont slopes.

Compared to Santa Cruz or Brazil, the clearing in Beni is only for cattle paddocks and are located in high places. Cattle ranchers in Beni assert that they take care of the environment, as they still follow the same system used by their grandparents, which is that of making a cattle ranch in the pampas.

Director Calderon of FAN upholds the sustainable method, confirming that in Beni, there is livestock but raised in natural pastures, which gives doubts to implications of deforestation. Still, she says that they would have to take precautions in everything that concerns management of soil and water.

World

Bolivia’s Lake Titicaca Reveals Exceptional Ancient Tiwanaku Ceremonial Site

Amateur divers exploring the Island of the Sun in Lake Titicaca came across several ancient artifacts in a reef submerged 5 meters deep. The discoveries led to an official exploration of the Khoa reef by a team of marine archaeologists. After piecing together artefacts of exceptional value, they unraveled an amazing ceremonial site, which archaeologists associated to the Tiwanaku state, one of the most influential Andean civilizations to have existed in Bolivia.

Underwater Conditions Preserved Proofs of the Opulence of the Ancient Tiwanaku State

Marine researchers collected a treasure trove of ceremonial items that bear witness to the opulence of the Tiwanaku state. Figurines of animals, mostly of pumas, were shaped and carved out of lapis lazuli and other stones. Ceramic incense burners and an L-shaped gold piece of ceremonial item were likewise adorned with puma silhouettes.

Research divers also found gold ornaments, including perforated gold leaves attached to fragments of leather, similar to the ear tassels used as adornments on young llamas offered as sacrifices in the most lavish of ancient ceremonies. Along with the valuable artefacts, researchers also collected well-preserved remnants of llama bones. When carbon dated, the remnants disclosed that the lavish ceremonies took place between the 8th and 10th centuries AD.

Christophe Delaere of the University of Oxford, one of the marine archaeologists involved in the underwater exploration, enthused about the significance of the Lake Titicaca discovery in its undisturbed context. He said it exemplified the advantages of underwater heritage, serving as a demonstration of how Lake Titicaca protects ancient cultural materials from the ravages of time and man.

Delaere summed the significance of the underwater artefacts by saying

“Never before have so many artefacts of this quality been discovered. The history that they tell us is exceptional.”

Lake Titicaca Discoveries Provided Explanations on How the Titicaca State Expanded Rapidly

Charles Stanish, anthropologist at the University of South Florida, and member of the exploration team said the undisturbed ceremonial materials provided explanations on how the Tiwanaku state expanded so effectively during the first millennium. Stanish, explained that pilgrimages leading to the Titicaca basin, took part in elaborate ceremonies regarded as critical aspects of the state structure.

As a way of promoting cooperation and preventing rebellion and freeloading among pilgrims, rituals took place, not only for worship but also in bringing out “supernatural punishers (pumas?).” Stannish remarked that

“Ritual and religion structured people’s lives, the economy and the whole of society. This was how these people were able to to get along in spectacular ways and establish a very successful society.”