Tacana Indigenous People

The Tacana Indigenous People Council (CIPTA) represents 20 Tacana communities of the Abel Iturralde Province, Department of La Paz. Its objectives aim to consolidate their traditional territories and improve the living conditions of communities, strengthening their cultural values and sustainably using natural resources.

In 1997, CIPTA submitted a land claim for their Indigenous Territory (TCO Tacana I) to INRA (Bolivian Land Reform Institute) on behalf of 20 communities (621 families and 2,849 inhabitants) located on the southeast border of Madidi protected area, achieving to date the formal titling of 389,303 ha (of which 39.430 overlap with Madidi). In 2001, CIPTA submitted a second land claim for the TCO Tacana II on the northern border of Madidi, which is currently in the process of land titling. These territories are of great importance for the conservation of ecosystems of forests and savannas of the Amazon lowlands that are not adequately represented in the protected areas of the landscape, and are home to typical Amazonian wildlife species: jaguar (Panthera onca), giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), pacarana or Count Branick’s rat (Dinomys branickii), white-fronted capuchin monkey (Cebus albifrons), Madidi titi monkey (Callicebus aureipalatii), marsh deer (Blastocerus dichotomus) and black caiman (Melanosuchus niger).

Parallel to the land titling process, in 2000 CIPTA began planning activities for the TCO Tacana I with support of WCS through Participatory Rural Appraisals (DRP) and community development plans. This resulted in the Sustainable Development Strategy of the TCO Tacana I, which includes territory zoning aimed at regulating the access and use of natural resources by Tacana communities. Zoning was also used as a tool for managing land conflicts between Tacana communities and other local actors.

Once the TCO Tacana I was titled, and considering that land titling had reduced and fractioned the original land demand, the zoning was adjusted in each community through a process called microzoning. Microzoning considered the proposed land use categories in the zoning of the TCO Tacana I, communal jurisdictions and traditional land uses, defining the areas of current and potential use, the terms of use for each area and compatibility between uses and land management technical standards.

In order to guide the sustainable management of natural resources to provide economic benefits of productive activities to Tacana families and communities, CIPTA conducted a participatory process of defining their own concepts of sustainability and transgenerational equity, which were then translated to principles and criteria. Each year, previously trained communities present their natural resource use project ideas to a competitive fund managed by CIPTA.

The zoning and the sustainability principles and criteria were complemented in each community to build communal regulations for access and use of natural resources, leading to the “bottom up” formulation of the Natural Resources Access and Use Regulation for the Indigenous Territory. Resource access and use, rights and duties of community members, permissible and impermissible practices, distribution of benefits, and current relevant national law were accordingly analyzed with the communities.

Actions focused on planning and land protection, construction of internal rules of access and use of natural resources, training in designing and implementation of natural resource management were carried out within the framework of permanent strengthening of the organizational, technical and administrative capacities of CIPTA including accounting, activity programming and project management. WCS also worked on developing the technical team of CIPTA to consolidate the internal capabilities of the organization and ensure sustainable land management.

A key aspect of territory management support is research and natural resource management by productive associations in the Tacana Indigenous Territory. From 2000 to date, WCS supported various activities related to native honey production, sustainable harvest of spectacled caiman, monitoring and management of hunting and fishing, sustainable community forestry, wild chocolate and Brazil nut production, domestic animal health management, handicraft production and ecotourism. CIPTA now has 18 community productive associations, some with over 10 years of experience that are implementing natural resource management projects in 16 communities of the TCO Tacana I and in 4 communities of the TCO Tacana II, with a total of 624 partner members. The number of initiatives that run under formally approved management plans is also increasing.