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A new conservation area protects vital water sources for 80,000 people

The Arroyo Baha Conservation Area was established on May 4 in the Bolivian Amazon, conserving over 10,000 acres of forest and crucial water sources for the local community. It is the first protected area in the municipality of Cobija. Due to its location in the department of Pando, which shares a western border with Peru and a north and east border with Brazil, Arroyo Baha provides vital ecosystem services in the form of freshwater to 80,000 local people in Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil. As a result, preserving ecosystems that span numerous countries benefits tens of thousands of people.

According to data conducted by Josefina Marn, the environmental economist of Fundación Natura Bolivia, the upper and middle sections of the Arroyo Baha basin have experienced extensive deforestation over the last five years, prompting the creation of this protected area. The rising demand for clearing lands for rearing cattle, which causes erosion and soil compaction, is one of the main factors for the loss of forest cover. This has an impact on forest species renewal and contributes to the sedimentation and blockage of Amazon Conservationstreams in the Arroyo Bahia Conservation Area. As a result, between 1985 and 2008, the forest cover along the banks of the tributary rivers to the stream was substantially diminished. This, combined with contamination from garbage disposal, has had disastrous repercussions for water quality and has caused problems with drinkability. The harvest of Brazil nuts has also been reduced recently due to a fall in tree output and a drop in prices.

For that reason, the Arroyo Baha Conservation Area was established to preserve the basin from contamination and destruction. It will also help local residents maintain their livelihoods and mitigate floods and fires. Moreover, despite the constant encroachment of human activity, the basin is home to a considerable deal of diversity. In two sampling sites, 351 plant species, 35 amphibian species, 13 reptile species, 185 bird species, 32 mammals, and 30 fish species have been identified.

In Peru and Bolivia, Amazon Conservation has operated on the ground. They focused on preserving natural areas, empowering local communities, and putting science and technology to use. They contribute to the global community by sharing their vision and experience to other regions having similar challenges and being an inspiring example how to realize these projects even against strong odds.


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