Could agroforestry help save Bolivia’s rainforests?

Brazil nuts

Farmer collects Brazil nuts. Photo: Marco Simola / CIFOR

To mark International Day of Forests on 21 March, conservationists and biologists have drawn attention to how the disappearance of Bolivia’s rainforests is impacting on Amazonian farmers. They are calling for investment in sustainable development projects such as agroforestry systems.

An article in Tele SUR states that farmers in Bolivia earn up to 75 percent of their income from the forest, foraging for Brazil nuts, cacao and the acai fruit. But with 200,000 hectares of Bolivian rainforest being lost to deforestation, wildfires and the construction of cattle ranges each year, farmers’ livelihoods are threatened.

Through agroforestry, “trees and shrubs are planted among crops to help create more productive, sustainable and profitable use of the land,” says the article, adding that agroforestry projects can also help to ensure the long-term survival of forestry species.

While the Bolivian government has pledged US $30 million for sustainable development programs in the Amazon over the next 5 years, many argue this is not enough to save the rainforest.

“For every US dollar invested in conservation projects, $100 is set aside for unsustainable projects such as the construction of highways and hydroelectric dams.”

Read the full story: Bolivia’s Rainforest ‘Could Disappear’ by 2100'

Kate Langford

Kate Langford is a consultant writer with close to 20 years’ experience in communicating natural resource, environmental and land management issues for various government and non-government organizations. She previously worked as Communications Specialist for the World Agroforestry Centre in Kenya and has worked in Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam and Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Science and a Graduate Diploma in Scientific Communication.

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