Barba Azul Nature Reserve Declared a Private Natural Heritage Reserve

Land Use Management Plan with declaration of Barba Azul Nature Reserve as a Private Natural Heritage Reserve. Photo by Ivan Perez.

In this article:

  • Bolivia authorizes first Private Natural Heritage Reserve in nine years, the first such Reserve in the Beni department
  • Approved Land Management Plan adds legal conservation protections for National Heritage species, the Blue-throated Macaw
  • Llanos de Moxos ecosystem will benefit as habitat protections within the Reserve continue and coordination of conservation measures throughout the region is encouraged

In 2014 Bolivia named the Blue-throated Macaw a Natural Heritage species, and now Bolivia has declared Armonia’s Barba Azul Nature Reserve a Private Natural Heritage Reserve to protect this macaw in the wild. 

On Friday, November 6, years of seeking appropriate pathways to legal protected status came to fruition with the approval of the Reserve’s Land Management Plan, known in Bolivia as the POP.  The designation of Private Natural Heritage Reserve (locally abbreviated as RPPN) is contained within. While on the surface this paperwork may appear to be a routine measure, it is worthy to note that this was the first Land Management Plan to be issued since the approval of the new national  Land Use Plan (PLUS). It has been nine years since the last Private Natural Heritage Reserve was declared in Bolivia and is the first ever for the Beni department. 

Rodrigo Soria, Armonia’s Executive Director, signs forms related to the Land Management Plan for Barba Azul Nature Reserve, November 6, 2020. Photo by Ivan Perez.

Specific objectives outlined within the 121-page Land Management Plan are the preservation and maintenance of the Llanos de Moxos ecosystem and protection of species of exceptional importance that depend on it, such as endemic and threatened species as well as ecosystem specialists. Maintaining a large enough protected area to support a viable population of the Critically Endangered Blue-throated Macaw is central to this plan. The objectives emphasize the promotion of conservation efforts throughout the region and encourage ecotourism and environmental education and training opportunities.

Armonia’s Private Reserve will be divided in half, with the field research station and tourism operations based in RPPN Barba Azul, where activities will primarily focus on wildlife protection in the tall grass savanna. The other half, Barba Azul East, will be dedicated to sustainable ranching, and Armonía will experiment with best practices ranching methods to maintain biodiversity while producing cattle with minimal impact and high productivity.

Our deep gratitude for making possible this significant step towards the enduring protection of the Blue-throated Macaw goes to the Latin American Reserve Stewardship Initiative supported by the American Bird Conservancy & March Conservation Fund, the Ben Olewine Foundation, the International Conservation Fund of Canada, and the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

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