In 1972 the Ulla Ulla National Wildlife Reserve was created to protect threatened vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) populations. It was recognized as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1977 and in 2000 Ulla Ulla area was expanded and re-categorized as the Apolobamba National Natural Area of Integrated Management with an area of 483,744 hectares. Apolobamba is located on the western limit of La Paz Department, within the Bautista Saavedra, Franz Tamayo and Larecaja provinces, adjacent to the Republic of Peru. Kallawaya, Quechua and Aymara communities are found within the protected area, totaling 18,601 inhabitants. The Marka Cololo Copacabana de Antaquilla Indigenous Territory, with 8 “ayllus” or sectors overlaps partially with the Apolobamba protected area.
Apolobamba presents a variety of characteristic high Andean ecosystems as well as montane and inter Andean forests, located at different altitudinal levels and climate zones. It is an important center of origin and diversification of Andean crops such as potatoes (Solanum spp.), oca (Oxalis tuberosa), racacha (Arracacia xanthorrhiza), mauka (Mirabilis expansa), yacón (Smallanthus sonchifolius), tarhui (Lupinus mutabilis) and isaño (Tropaeolum tuberosum). It is home to endemic and threatened species of flora and fauna, such as the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), the vicuña (Vicugna vicugna), the Andean cat (Leopardus jacobita), the Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus), the North Andean huemul (Hippocamelus antisensis) and the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus peruvianus). It also protects queñua forest patches (Polylepis spp.) that grow between the Andean paramo and the tree line montane forest.