Andes Amazon Fund celebrates the establishment of the Serranía Yanaloma-Siripita Municipal Conservation Area. The area was officially created on May 17th, 2022, and is located in the municipality of Apolo within the La Paz department of Bolivia. Yanaloma-Siripita spans from 4,200 to 7,000 feet (1,280-2,134 meters) above sea level and is home to Amazonian humid montane forests, rainforests, and palm groves, which host numerous endemic species of flora and fauna.
The conservation area contains two mountain chains, or serranías: Yanaloma and Siripita. Yanaloma is one of the principal water sources for the towns of San Pedro, Pata Salinas, and Santo Domingo, which sit at the foot of the mountains. The new conservation area covers 55,961 acres (22,647 hectares) and expands a conservation corridor including Madidi National Park and the Apolobamba National Reserve.
Cultural and Economic Significance
The significance of this protected area extends beyond its ecological value. The local communities and Indigenous Peoples find cultural and economic value through the sustainable use of the region’s natural resources. The humid, montane forests of the Municipal Conservation Area contain reserves of frankincense and copal, which are valued culturally by these communities. Commercially important species are also found in the region, including cedar, canelon, and bay laurel. Finally, medicinal cinchona, matico, caña caña, and mapajo, among other species, are used by researchers as biological indicators of ecosystem health.
Threats to the Region
The conservation area faces threats due to extractive activities, such as deforestation and overexploitation of forests with economic and cultural value to Indigenous communities. The expansion of the agricultural frontier is another major stressor facing the region. Forest fires originating from slash-and-burn techniques wipe out vegetation, and overgrazing by cattle degrades soils and fragments habitats. Cattle grazing additionally contaminates water sources and interrupts water flow.
Looking to the Future: What does the Municipality Aim to Achieve with its New Protected Area?
The municipality seeks to use the creation of Serranía de Yanaloma-Siripita conservation area to promote several goals: sustainable development, ecological protection, scientific exploration, and enhanced local governance. They seek to promote the holistic use and distribution of natural resources, aiming to improve the quality of life for local populations. This includes initiatives to produce and sell products from the territory using sustainable practices.
The municipal government also vows to safeguard the forests, soils, waterways, wildlife, and ecosystems of Serranía de Yanaloma-Siripita, thus maintaining the environmental functions and contributing to the regulation of hydrological cycles.
Additionally, there is a concerted effort to provide opportunities for developing scientific research that contributes to the protection, conservation, and sustainable management of the area’s natural resources. Local communities and Indigenous Peoples will manage their own resources, thus advancing the goal of community sovereignty.
Andes Amazon Fund would like to congratulate the Municipal Government of Apolo, the local communities and Indigenous Peoples of Yanaloma-Siripita, and ACEAA, who provided technical support, for this conservation victory.