Bolivia’s vast forests are in relatively good condition. The greatest threat is posed by infrastructure plans, the expansion of industrial agriculture, and the mining industry.
In the last six years, forest loss rates have by far exceeded the country's historical figures. Forest of relatively good quality are now confined to protected areas, indigenous territories and forestlands under management.
The accelerated degradation of ecosystems in the country is directly related to government policies that aim at promoting the uncontrolled advance of agro-industry and cattle ranching. The advance of the agricultural and livestock frontier goes hand in hand with deforestation and the use of fire for land clearing. In August 2019, an extensive fire broke out in the Chiquitanía, Chaco and Pantanal landscapes, burning 1.9 million hectares of dry forest and a similar area in other natural ecosystems, including grasslands.
Despite the progress made in terms of the recognition of the rights of Bolivia's indigenous peoples, their territories suffer dramatically from expansion of industrial plantations, commercial livestock breeding and extractive activities. Decision-making processes are dominated by a coalition of a political elite and corporate actors which disregard rights and aspirations of indigenous peoples and local communities. This power asymmetry has not only profoundly undermined forest conservation but has also resulted in a persistent violation of human, environmental and women's rights, and a profound weakening of Bolivia's indigenous organisations and networks.
The GLA programme in Bolivia seeks to influence the policies and practices of public, private and civil actors that contribute to the inclusive and sustainable management of forest landscapes, through the development of capacities for lobby and advocacy at different scales. The GLA Alliance believes that the Greater Chiquitanía can maintain its valuable ecosystems and provide the people with income, health and well-being. The GLA Alliance has built and supported a network of organisations that are now actively involved in issues related to landscape governance. The programme has mainly focused on three intervention pathways: 1) Innovation for sustainable forest management, 2) Integral management of natural ecosystems, and 3) Efficient implementation of local environmental regulations.
The Bolivia programme is implemented by the Institute for Forest Research (IBIF), whose main focus is the integral and sustainable management of forests; the Centre for Documentation and Information (CEDIB), with experience in the areas of documentation and research related to human rights and the environment; the Association for Conservation, Research on Biodiversity and Sustainable Development (SAVIA), with experience in strengthening the governance of national and sub-national protected areas; and Productivity Biosphere Environment (PROBIOMA), with focus on agro-ecology and sustainable management of biodiversity.