Andes Amazon Fund applauds the creation of the Mayaya de Teoponte Park and Natural Integrated Management Area. The new municipal conservation area protects 108,400 acres (43,868 hectares) of primarily submontane humid forests in the La Paz department of Bolivia. Until now, there were no protected areas in the Teoponte municipality. This new area is meant to fill a conservation gap in the region, while simultaneously supporting local communities through sustainable development initiatives.
Connecting an Amazonian Biodiversity Corridor
The Mayaya de Teoponte municipal conservation area helps to connect a larger biodiversity corridor, bridging Indigenous territories (or TCOs using the Spanish acronym) to the north: Mostesen and Pilón Lajas (which is also a Biosphere Reserve), with the new Alto Beni municipal conservation area to the southeast. The forests of the Mayaya de Teoponte conservation area are a refuge for endemic and threatened species, provide critical ecosystem services, and feed into important rivers like the La Paz and the Kaka.
Where Conservation and Sustainable Development Go Hand-in-Hand
The majority of the protected area is designated as an “Integrated Management Park and Natural Area”, meaning that conservation and sustainable development must go hand-in-hand in its future management. According to the Comprehensive Territorial Development Plan (PTDI using the Spanish acronym), Teoponte is the second largest producer of coffee in Bolivia, and there is potential to increase its production of cacao. Additionally, there are plantain, papaya, rice, corn, and various citrus crops grown in the area. A large part of this production is sold in Guanay and Caravani, but products are occasionally sold in markets in the city of La Paz. The communities within and surrounding the Mayaya de Teoponte municipal conservation area will benefit not only from the protection of their water sources and lands but from sustainable development projects that will bring more prosperity to the region.
Creating the Conservation Area
The process to create this area was initiated by the Autonomous Municipal Government of Teoponte and the sub-mayor of the Mayaya district, with technical assistance from Conservation International (CI) Bolivia and initial funding from Andes Amazon Fund. They saw the need to protect the biological diversity and environmental services provided by the region’s forests, and the importance of conserving water sources for both human consumption and production.
The Mayaya de Teoponte Municipal Park and Natural Integrated Management Area was created through an intensely participatory process. After the “diagnostic” stage, which included discussions with representatives of the 33 local communities, CI Bolivia and the local government developed a technical document explaining the importance of protecting the area. Once the document was approved, they held public meetings and consultations to answer any questions from the community. The area was officially declared in February of 2023.
The Autonomous Municipal Government of Teoponte will undertake the future management of the area with the help of a Management Committee of community members and other local institutions. CI Bolivia will additionally support the implementation of the management plan for this new protected area.
This achievement was made possible thanks to the Autonomous Municipal Government of Teoponte and the sub-mayor of the Mayaya district, with the technical assistance of Conservation International Bolivia. Additional support was provided by the Bezos Earth Fund.