The conservation of 353,292 acres (142,972.2 hectares) of cloud forest within the Aguaragüe mountain range in the Andean foothills of southern Bolivia proves to be a landmark project for the conservation of a main water supply for at least 60 indigenous communities and for the surrounding residents of Charagua, the municipal capital.
A core belief of the newly formed local Guaraní Autonomous Government Charagua lyambae is the fundamental right and access to water- thus prompting a major conservation effort guided towards preserving and conserving water resources that guarantee the sustainable development of the population and its flora and fauna. Inside the Irenda Municipal Conservation Area lies a moist Tucumano-Bolivian montane forest containing rich fauna that includes the jaguar, the vulnerable Andean bear, and emblematic bird families including toucans and hummingbirds. By ensuring the prosperity of the forest, the Charagua municipality has ensured the prosperity of its surrounding communities, as the forest continues to play an important role in mitigating and adapting to climate change, an issue increasingly at the fore front of conservation efforts.
It is of importance to note that the Irenda Municipal Conservation Area is the first declared by a municipal government operated by an indigenous Guaraní community. In fact, the conservation of this area would not have been possible without the newly established government’s encouragement of participation among its inhabitants. The involvement of the local people remains a basic factor in the success of all conservation projects and is key in understanding and tackling the underlying issues affecting a specific region.
“The field work, the follow-up and the accompaniment of the authorities of each zone, …are a sample of unity of the Guaraní people,” said Miltonon Huayrana, Charagua Coordinator at Natura Bolivia.
The Andes Amazon Fund applauds the work of grantee Natura Bolivia, who helped design and create the protected area system in cooperation with the Guaraní Autonomous Government Charagua lyambae of Bolivia. This achievement was created both under the laws of the country and under norms of indigenous community, further highlighting the importance of conservation work deeply rooted in the involvement of local indigenous people.