Conservation International Applauds New Protected Area Northwest of La Paz, Bolivia
March 24, 2021
Guanay Protected Area supported by Conservation International research
Arlington, VA (March 24, 2021) – Today, Conservation International applauds the designation of the Guanay Protected Area announced by the Guanay municipal government. The new protected area is located northwest of the Bolivian capitol, La Paz, and covers 110,000 hectares on the western slope of the Andes. It will help conserve regional biodiversity, support climate stabilization, protect nearby communities from floods and support a sustainable supply of fresh water for communities.
Scientific research conducted by Conservation International confirmed the region was home to a rich array of biodiversity. Following the research and engagement with local communities the Guanay municipality proclaimed the area protected for the benefit of nature and human wellbeing.
“It is time to organize and plan so that in the future, in 10, 20, or 30 years, we can continue to benefit from what we have. Today we must conserve our lungs, the forest, to guarantee clean air and water for future generations,” said Guanay’s municipality mayor, Roger Tintaya.
The Guanay Protected Area comprises 32% of the Guanay municipality and has an altitudinal gradient ranging from 470 to 4,200 meters above sea level which influences a variety of landscapes across the region. For example, it includes the Andean Puna which is comprised primarily of mountains and plateaus and the Yungas, a humid, subtropical region in the west.
Eighty percent of the new protected area territory is considered intact cloud forest. It harbors a rich array of endemic and threatened species, including the critically endangered Devil-eyed Frog (Oreobates zongoensis), which was rediscovered on a recent scientific expedition into the Bolivian Andes that also revealed 20 species new to science. The protected area is also home to the Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) which is at risk from the nearby use of pesticides which have contributed to the loss of 0.5% of the species in the region. The protected area will help conserve the habitat of these rare and threatened species.
“The Amazon is in serious danger, and each preserved space is like a breath of fresh air. Today Guanay gives us a wonderful piece of life, encouraging us to continue our fight for the conservation of the Amazon and the mitigation of climate change,” said Eduardo Forno, Executive Director of Conservation International-Bolivia.
In addition to its biodiversity, the montane forests within the new Guanay Protected Area contain stores of irrecoverable carbon – carbon that is located across the world and vulnerable to release from human activity. If lost, it could not be restored by 2050, the year by which we need to reach net-zero emissions to limit the risk of warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid catastrophic levels of climate change.
The following species can be found in the Guanay Protected Area and are listed as either critically endangers (CR), endangered (EN) or vulnerable (VU) byt the International union for the Conservation of Nature:
- Trees like Madidi Magnolia Magnolia madidiensis (EN) and Freziera dudleyi (EN);
- Amphibians like the Devil-eyed Frog Oreobates zongoensis (CR) and the rare Coroico Robber Frog Yunganastes bisignatus (EN);
- Birds like the Black-and- chestnut Eagle Spizaetus isidori (EN), the Andean Condor Vultur gryphus (VU), and the Military Macaw Ara militaris (VU); and
- Mammals like the Taruca Hippocamelus antisensis (VU), the Peruvian Dwarf Brocket Mazama chunyi (VU), and the Spectacled bear Tremarctos ornatus (VU).
More facts about the Guanay Protected Area:
- Protected Area Legal Name: Área Natural de Manejo Integrado Guanay
- Area: 110,837 hectares
- Geographic Location: Northwest of Bolivia, La Paz Department, Larecaja Province, Guanay Municipality. It is located within the Tropical Andes Hotspot. 23% of its territory belongs to the Cotapata Key Biodiversity Area (KBA).
- Population: 260 inhabitants living in two communities: San Juan de Challana and Challampaya.
- Ecosystem services: water, forests, biodiversity, and climate regulation
About Conservation International
Conservation International works to protect the critical benefits that nature provides to people. Through science, partnerships and fieldwork, Conservation International is driving innovation and investments in nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, supporting protections for critical habitats, and fostering economic development that is grounded in the conservation of nature. Conservation International works in 30 countries around the world, empowering societies at all levels to create a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet. Follow Conservation International's work on Conservation News, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.