The Gran Manupare : The Massive Conservation Mosaic Protecting Bolivia’s Pando Rainforest

Bokivia rainforestIn Bolivia, The Gran Manupare Integrated Management Natural Area recently added the municipality of Sena as established law aimed to protect 1.1 million acres (452,639 hectares) of Amazon rainforest. The community of Sena is the latest local municipality that represents a piece of the massive conservation mosaic created by indigenous communities and local municipalities that have been interconnected after taking on the cudgel of protecting their forest into their own hands.

During the past 25 years, communities in Bolivia’s Amazon were able to protect 25 million acres (ten hectares) of the Pando rainforest. Actually, through the support given by Conservation International, the communities and municipalities were able to keep their livelihoods secure and at the same tome provided protection for endangered species; as well as achieve ahead of schedule, an ambitious goal of protecting about 30 percent of Bolivia’s land.

Eduardo Forno, Vice President of Conservation International-Bolivia (CIB) said that they have been knitting together the fabric of conservation for the protection of the Amazon to benefit all. Forno said that what the communities and municipalities have achieved is a testament on the power of consistent approach, borne by the need to protect one of Amazon’s most diverse areas.

What Exactly is Bolivia’s Gran Manupare

The Gran Manupare refers to a municipal conservation area located in the rainforests of Pando, spanning a massive 452,639 hectares (1,118,495 acres) of land in the Bolivian Amazon. Created through the Andes Amazon Fund and spearheaded by the Conservation International, the Gran Manupare represents a conservation mosaic concept of encouraging and motivating indigenous and local communities to take actions on their own toward protecting the massive forests of Pando.

Juliana Ewert, the CIB program manager who worked with the communities in Pando to establish the Gran Manupare protected area, said “it’s actually all about the Brazil Nut. The nuts mostly come from Bolivia, although the name suggests otherwise.

bolivia's famous brazil nutsThe Pando Department has about 70 percent of forests constituting sustainably managed Brazil nut trees that serve as a main source of livelihood for local communities. The Pando Department’s established conservation area, The Gran Manupare also provides sanctuaries for Bolivia’s huge collection of species including the jaguar and the endangered giant river otter.

Continuing Threats to the Pando Rainforest Made Conservation Initiatives Necessary

The presence of mining operations and settlers who engage in slash and burn agricultural practice had posed ever-present threats to Pando’s forests. In response to the increasing per capita deforestation rates in the country, Conservation International approached the municipalities and indigenous communities to take on the cudgels of establishing a protected area for them to manage sustainably, as doing so will ensure the preservation of their source of income.

CIB Vice President Fomo said that over time
indigenous communities and local municipalities along with other conservation organizations that partnered in building and managing the protected areas were able to build a massive conservation mosaic known as the Gran Manupare. It connects millions of hectares of interconnected protected areas in the Pando Department.