On World Water Day, we’re excited to announce the recent creation of the Serranía San Lorenzo Municipal Protected Area in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Established on March 16 by the municipality of San Javier, Serranía de San Lorenzo protects 135,279 acres of Chiquitano forests and cerrado savannas, whose conservation will protect vital water resources for the 8,000 inhabitants of the municipal capital and 13 surrounding indigenous communities.
Water is a vital aspect of everyday life, and by protecting native ecosystems we are also protecting clean water sources used for growing food, ensuring health, maintaining cultural practices, and more. The conservation of Serranía de San Lorenzo will also support the socioeconomic activities that sustain livelihoods in the region, and through sustainable management practices, will ensure the provision of water for future generations to come. Furthermore, the protection of the Serranía San Lorenzo ecosystem will secure the integrity of its beautiful water features, such as the waterfalls and the thermal springs, which help to generate a tourism economy.
The area also protects a diversity of flora and fauna that include animal species such as Collared peccary (Pecarí Tajacu), South American coati (Nasua nasua), puma (Felis concolor), Southern tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla), and more, as well as plant species such as peacock flower (Caesalpinia pluviosa), trumpet trees (Tabebuia sp), and Amarillo trees (Aspidosperma cylindrocarpun). It’s also known for its wide variety of orchid species.
In 2018, grantee Fundación Natura Bolivia signed a cooperative agreement with the Municipality of San Javier to initiate a local watershed management fund, which laid the groundwork for the recent creation of the reserve. With the establishment of the Serranía San Lorenzo protected area, the municipality will have improved capacity to manage the area and expand their efforts to guarantee the conservation of their water sources.
The creation of the Serranía San Lorenzo protected area was made possible thanks to the joint efforts of the Water Cooperative of San Javier, the Municipal Government of San Javier, the Departmental Government of Santa Cruz and AAF grantee Fundación Natura Bolivia. Additional support was provided by the indigenous communities of San Javier and the Association of Ranchers.