Livestock and livestock products are key raw materials in both Paraguay and Bolivia. They play many important roles at the community and household level. However, livestock is also associated with loss of biodiversity, conflicts between humans and wildlife, deforestation, fires, soil degradation, desertification, loss of water quality and quantity and the emission of greenhouse gases. Livestock production is the main use that is given to land in the Paraguayan Chaco and its importance in northwestern Bolivia is increasing. These areas allow us to examine extremes in the Latin American context, where livestock is expanding and intensifying as human population grows, roads are improved and meat consumption increases locally and globally. As the importance of livestock production increases, so does the risk of exacerbating social inequality and displacement of vulnerable rural populations limiting their access to land and environmental functions. This is exemplified in livestock land speculation in Paraguay, on the one hand, and the opportunity to prevent these problems in Bolivia and improving livestock management practices, on the other hand, to maximize the economic benefits for small producers, an aspect that has been prioritized in the indigenous land management plans of the Leco and Tacana people.
The aim of this project is to develop pilot projects for sustainable livestock management in Bolivia and Paraguay, testing their effectiveness to reduce poverty and conserve biodiversity at different scales, from the indigenous community management of livestock to large private properties. WCS and its allies have the following objectives: (1) carry out sustainable livestock interventions in properties that represent these range of scales and socioeconomic contexts; (2) conduct research to synthesize experiences and evaluate the impact of its interventions on biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction; and (3) disseminate lessons learned to facilitate replication of sustainable livestock management techniques throughout South America.