One of the first protected areas to be established in Bolivia, the Beni Biosphere Reserve is located at the convergence of three biogeographical zones: the Amazon, the Chaco and the Cerrado. The reserve is home to important indigenous Amazonian groups.
Beni Biosphere Reserve
The Beni Biosphere Reserve is located in the Department of Beni, Bolivia, at the convergence of three biogeographical zones: the Amazon, the Chaco and the Cerrado. It covers some 135,000 ha (333,600 acres) of savanna and rainforest and was one of the first protected areas to be established in Bolivia.
The Department of Beni is located in northeast Bolivia in the southern reaches of the Amazon Basin. It borders Brazil to the northeast and is primarily covered by rainforest. It is hot and humid during most of the year with an annual rainfall average of between 1,000 - 4,000 mm (39 - 157 in). It is one of the wettest regions in Bolivia.
The Biosphere Reserve comprises diverse forest formations: gallery forests, forest islands of deciduous trees, lowland dense forest and open middle-height forest with tajibo (Tabebuia sp.) and matorral formations including tuzeque (Machaerium sp.); as well as the seasonally flooded Beni Savanna or Llanos de Moxos.
The reserve is exceptionally biodiverse. More than 100 mammal species, 500 bird species and 2,000 vascular plant species have been reported, some of which are endangered.
Due not only to its rich biota but also to the presence of important indigenous Amazonian groups, it was designated a Biosphere Reserve with the purpose of promoting conservation in a context of balance between people and nature.
Approximately 215,000 inhabitants live in the Biosphere Reserve, engaged in extensive cattle raising and increasing timber extraction activities, affecting natural forest ecosystems.
The Chimane ethnolinguistic group lives in the southeast part of the Beni Department in the tropical humid forest and plains and is engaged in activities such as sustainable hunting, fishing, plant collection and traditional agriculture.
The main goals of the Beni Biosphere Reserve are to protect endangered species, promote the sustainable use of natural resources and safeguard traditional techniques and knowledge in the area.