Darwin InitiativeForest Futures

Livelihoods and Sustainable Forest Management in the Bolivian Amazon


The Bolivian Department of Pando covers an area of 6.4 million hectares of which 95% is still under forest.  The forests in Pando are rich in biodiversity: many species occurring there are rare elsewhere in the Amazon or endemic to Bolivia, and many of the species assemblages are found nowhere else in Bolivia (one of the world’s 'megadiverse' countries).

Immigration to the Bolivian Amazon, driven by economic, political and environmental factors, has placed increasing pressure on Pando's forests. These support a large forest-dependent population (40% of the total), are vital providers of ecosystem services and constitute important buffers for the eastern Andean catchments from predicted impacts of climate change. Forest loss will reduce Bolivia’s ability to meet its CBD obligations and increase vulnerability to climate change among the poor.

Mitigating these threats demands sustainable practices that reduce forest conversion, coupled with skills and knowledge of forest values for addressing poverty. Priorities identified by Bolivia's Integrated Forest Management Plan (BAP) and Constitution include: diversification of forest-based incomes, adoption of sustainable forest management systems, protection and conservation of soils, and strategic importance of Amazon watershed for biodiversity and environmental services.

There is a clear, locally identified need for the development, dissemination and uptake of sustainable forest management practices that reduce forest loss and provide for the livelihood requirements of the growing rural population.

Project at a glance

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Non-timber forest products
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Sustainable forest management developed and practised in forest communities in Pando Bolivia including:

  • Agroforestry adapted to regional socio-economic context, contributing directly to poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation;
  • Diversification of non-timber forest product (NTFP) resource collection and marketing;
  • Awareness of economic incentives for sustainable forest management and maintenance of ecosystem service values increased at a range of decision-making levels from community to governmental.


Forest Futures is a collaborative project between the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Herencia (Cobija), the Museo de Historia Natural Noel Kempff Mercado (Santa Cruz) and the forest communities of San José, Motacusal, Palacios and Pimpollo. For more details of the project team, click here.


The project is being developed with funding from the UK Darwin Initiative, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and the Kew Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the innocent Foundation, the William A. Cadbury Charitable Trust, the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, the British Ecological Society and the Bentham-Moxon Trust.