Natural resource management

Since 2000 the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), has been supporting sustainable natural resource management initiatives in the local communities of northern La Paz through collaborative agreements and in coordination with grassroots organizations and protected area authorities. Efforts focus on two main aspects: the strengthening of traditional natural resource use systems and research into the potential for wildlife harvests.

Between 2000 and 2010, in northern La Paz, WCS assisted in the development of 33 natural resource management initiatives that involve 57 communities and 26 productive associations. The management activities were directed towards the production of native bee honey, self-monitoring of subsistence hunting, fish management, spectacled caiman sustainable harvest, forestry, wild cacao cultivation, manufacture of handicrafts and ecotourism activities. These undertakings were also supported with appropriate research and monitoring, which enabled the development of management plans and internal regulations for natural resource use and management, the establishment of databases, the recovery of cultural practices and the development of sustainable management techniques.

The information collected on hunting activities in the TCO Tacana contains 15,802 records of 55 hunted species (27 mammals, 24 birds and 4 reptiles), with information on contributed biomass, hunting effort, location of hunting areas and the economic value of subsistence hunting.The six most hunted wildlife species in terms of biomass were: white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari), tapir (Tapirus terrestris), collared peccary (Pecari tajacu), red brocket deer (Mazama americana), yellow-spotted river turtle (Podocnemis unifilis) and Bolivian red howler monkey (Alouatta sara). The Tacana TCO fishing database contains 8,439 records, and analyses have demonstrated that at least 50 species are regularly caught. The extracted biomass between 2001 and 2007 was approximately 42 tons of fish, mostly from the Beni River. Around 85% of the biomass caught came from only 10 species, mainly catfish (Zungaro zungaro), “pintado” (Pseudoplatystoma spp.), “tachacá” (Pterodoras granulosus) and “pacú” (Piaractus brachypomus).

The natural resource management enterprises that have emerged are closely linked to the implementation of territorial management as a whole. In the case of the TCO Tacana I, the number of productive associations has expanded from 4 in the year 2000, when land management projects began, to 27 in 2008, when the technical team of the Tacana Indigenous Council (CIPTA) was consolidated.In addition, there has been an increase in the number of initiatives that carry out their activities under management plans approved by the representative organizations, and by relevant government authorities.