The Annotated Ramsar List: Bolivia


The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance


bolivia.gif (1200 bytes)

The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Bolivia on 27 October 1990. Bolivia presently has 11 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 14,842,405 hectares.

site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas

Bañados del Izozog y el río Parapetí. 17/09/01; Santa Cruz; 615,882 ha; 18°27’S 061°49’W. Partially within National Park. The largest and most important wetlands in the Santa Cruz region of the multinational Chaco biogeographical region, the site supports a diverse community of flora and fauna characteristic of the rivers of the Chaco. The Bañados lie at the termination of the river’s course in a tectonic depression and are of great seasonal important as a source of water. As the only water source in a region of dry forest, during the dry season the site supplies vital support to at least four species of larger mammals (types of armadillo, panther, peccary, and tapir) which are listed by IUCN as vulnerable or endangered. Ecologically, because of its hydrological connection with the Amazon basin, the site serves as part of a biological and genetic corridor which permits the flow and interchange of species of the wetter north with those of arid zones of the south. The shores of the Parapetí have been inhabited by the Izoceño-Guaraní people since at least the 15th century, who have made little impact upon the natural values of the site, and the area remains the physical and spiritual center of their culture. About a third of the Ramsar site is included within the Parque Nacional Kaa-Iya del Gran Chaco. Construction of a gas pipeline, with associated roadworks, should be well planned so as to preclude fragmentation of habitat. Ramsar site no. 1087. Most recent RIS information: 2001.

Cuenca de Tajzara. 13/06/00; Tarija; 5,500 ha; 2147'S 06506'E. Reserva Biológica. Situated in the endorrheic Tajzara basin, 45 kilometres west of the city of Tarija, at 3,700m above sea level, the site consists of a group of seasonal, semi-permanent and permanent lakes, high-altitude streams, marshes and high-Andean pastures. The two permanent lakes (areas between 350 and 800 ha) serve as a refuge for 40 species of birds indigenous to the high-Andean aquatic systems, where about 90% of the high-Andean waterfowl in Bolivia is found. The area is important for migratory shore birds, with year-round concentrations of the vulnerable high-Andean waterfowl species Andean flamingo (Phoenicopterus andinus), James's flamingo (P. jamesi), and Fulica cornuta. More than 30 archaeological sites have been identified near the lakes, ranging from vestiges of primitive hunter-gatherers, pre-Incan hydraulic constructions, cave paintings illustrating aquatic birds, and three Incan roads that lead from the basin to the valley. The main economic activity is the raising of sheep, llamas and cattle; agriculture is limited by the climate, though the families in the area have an average of ½ to 1 hectare for subsistence crops. There is a visitors' centre, a bird-observation site, information material, and facilities for school visits. There are plans to draw up a management plan with the participation of the local communities. The site forms part of the Reserva Biológica de la Cordillera de Sama, which is managed by the Servicio Nacional de Areas Protegidas through the NGO Protección del Medio Ambiente Tarija (PROMETA). Ramsar site no. 1030. Most recent RIS information: 2000.

Lago Titicaca (Sector Boliviano). 26/08/98; La Paz; 800,000 ha; 16º10’S 068º52’W. Transboundary site between Bolivia and Peru. The site is characterized by a mixture of freshwater permanent lakes, rivers, associated marshes and high Andean peatlands. It harbours several rare species and threatened fish, birds and invertebrate species endemic to the high Andes. The area is used for agriculture, fishing, sheep and cattle ranching. Small-scale tourism is becoming more important. Ramsar site no. 959. Most recent RIS information: 1998.

Lagos Poopó y Uru Uru. 11/07/02; Oruro; 967,607 ha; 18°46'S 67°07'W. National Ecological Reserve. A site comprising two associated brackish lakes at over 3,600m altitude which fulfil all eight of the Ramsar Criteria and are excellent representatives of the high-altitude Andean wetlands of the Puna region. Some 76 species of birds have been reported for the site, including about 120,000 individuals of flamingos Phoenicopterus chilensis, Phoenicoparrus andinus, and Phoenicoparrus jamesi. Endemic and endangered fauna and flora, such as vicuña and pumas, are supported, as well as the cactus Opuntia and Trichocereus. Two pre-Hispanic cultures, the Aymaras and Urus, the latter believed to be one of the oldest ethnic groups on the continent, dating from 2000-1500 before the common era, are present in the area and practice subsistence agriculture and fishing, with some mining and limited grazing and illegal bird hunting also in evidence. Ramsar site no. 1181.Most recent RIS information: 2002.

Laguna Concepción. 06/05/02; Santa Cruz; 31,124 ha; 17°31'S 61°21'W. A lake and associated wetlands that is representative of the wetlands of the Gran Chaco, characterized by a flat area of woodland and scrub marsh with poor drainage. The expanse of open water of some 6,179 ha is surrounded by palm groves of Copernicia alba and the southern cattail Typha domingensis. The lake is one of the most significant bodies of water in the east of Santa Cruz province, particularly important for wintering migratory birds from both northern and southern hemispheres, as well as for large mammals. The area was formerly inhabited by indigenous people pursuing a nomadic hunting and gathering way of life, but presently it is occupied by private cattle ranchers and by indigenous people and campesinos practicing the same occupation. Over-grazing and over-hunting are among potential threats to the ecological character of the site. WWF-Bolivia and the Living Waters Programme have been instrumental in preparing this important site for designation. Ramsar site no. 1175.Most recent RIS information: 2002.

Los Lípez. 27/06/90; Potosí; 1,427,717 ha; 22°10'S 067°24'W. Reserva de Fauna Andina. The site, first designated in 1990 as “Laguna Colorada”, is located in the Bolivian Altiplano between 4,200 and 6,000m altitude – the area covered was significantly extended as of 13 July 2009 from 51,318 to 1,427,717 hectares and now includes a complex of high Andean endorheic permanent saline, hypersaline and brackish lakes, as well as “bofedales” and geothermal wetlands. These wetlands sustain such migratory birds as Phalaropus tricolor and Calidris bairdii, who use the wetlands as staging sites for roosting and feeding. The Horned Coot (Fulica corneta) and Darwin’s Rhea (Rhea pennata garleppi), a very threatened subspecies, are also present. In addition, ca. 25% and 50% of the global population of the Andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus) and James’s Flamingo (Phoenicoparrus jamesi), respectively, concentrate in this area. There are also threatened non-avian species such as the endemic frog Telmatobius huayra, the Andean Mountain Cat Leopardus jacobita, and the colocolo Leopardus colocoloi. Due to its landscape beauty and natural attractions the site is the most visited protected area in Bolivia (ca. 70.000 tourist/year), which has caused negative impacts on the lakes. Mining represents another important threat. The Ramsar site covers two of the 14 priority sites of the Wetland Network of Importance for Conservation of High-Andes Flamingos in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru. Half of the Ramsar site is protected under the National Andean Wildlife Reserve Eduardo Avaroa. Added to the Montreux Record, 16 June 1993, removed from the Record, 7 August 1996. Ramsar site no. 489. Most recent RIS information: 2009.

Palmar de las Islas y las Salinas de San José. 17/09/01; Santa Cruz; 856,754 ha; 19°15’S 061°00’W. Includes National Park and Integrated Management Natural Area. A very large area of practically pristine saline and non-saline palm forests (Copernicia alba) and a system of small lagoons and channels supplying water to considerable numbers of animal species. As these are the only wetlands in a large area of dry forest, they provide essential support for many species during critical stages in their life cycles, as in the reproduction of several amphibian and reptile species. The water bodies also have great seasonal importance for larger mammals, such as peccary and tapir, which congregate around them during the dry season. The area has traditionally been used almost exclusively by the Ayoréode people, who practice a nomadic system of resource exploitation, with hunting, gathering, and subsistence agriculture. Parts of the site lie within a national park and an integrated management natural area of the Gran Chaco. Ramsar site no. 1088. Most recent RIS information: 2001.

Pantanal Boliviano. 17/09/01; Santa Cruz; 3,189,888 ha; 18°00’S 058°30’W National Park. An enormous area on the eastern frontier with Brazil, part of South America’s great Pantanal, the world’s largest wetland. The vast complex of rivers, lakes, lagoons, marsh, inundated forests and savannahs, and a major source of the Paraguay river, considered to be even richer in biodiversity and less disturbed than Brazilian portions, supporting astonishing numbers of floral species and fish, birds, and large mammals. The site also includes the Chiquitano forest, a major extension of the most intext dry forest in the world. Historically populated by Chiquitano and Ayoréode peoples in the southern parts, near the Chaco transitional region, others have joined the region over the past century to pursue cattle-grazing and trade with Brazil. Necessary future exploitation of mineral resources must be carefully managed to avoid harm to the region, and expanded cattle grazing may pose a threat to ecological values; deforestation as on the Brazilian side of the border is feared, and the potential effects of the Hidrovia project to open the Paraguay to navigation are being watched carefully. Ramsar site no. 1089. Most recent RIS information: 2001.

Río Blanco. 02/02/2013; Beni; 2,404,916 ha; 13°37'59"S 063°23'35"W. Área Natural de Manejo Integrado; Reserva Científica, Ecológica, Arqueológica. A large and important system of alluvial plains in the northeast of the country, with representative flooded amazon forests. The site hosts a huge biodiversity - some 87 mammal, 433 bird, 61 reptile, and 436 fish species have been identified. It hosts three species of crocodiles (Melanosuchus niger, Caiman yacare and Paleosuchus palpebrosus) and 16 migratory bird species like Pearl Kite Gampsonyx swainsonii, Osprey Pandion haliaetus, American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica, and White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis. There are 22 threatened species of vertebrates, amongst them the Giant Otter Pteronura brasiliensis, Water Opossum Chironectes minimus, and Giant Armadillo Priodontes maximus. The site also hosts more than 1% of the total population of the Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus as well as of the Giant Otter. In the Iténez River sub-basin can be found 436 fish species, about 60% of all the species to be found in the Amazon basin. Pressures from illegal exploitation of resources, especially timber and fish, are seen as a potential threat. Ramsar Site no. 2092. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Río Matos. 02/02/13; Beni; 1,729,788 ha; 14°48'54"S 066°12'00"W. The site is composed of a great ecosystem range with recent alluvial plains, rivers, lakes, and marshes, generally representative of the Amazon's flooded forests. There are 24 threatened species of vertebrates, such as the Giant Otter Pteronura brasiliensis and Peruvian spider monkey Ateles chamek. Overall, some 102 mammal, 206 bird, 75 reptile, and 394 fish species have been identified within the site, and 17 migratory bird species can be found, like Pearl Kite Gampsonyx swainsonii, Osprey Pandion haliaetus, and Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda, amongst others. The fish community of 394 species in the Marmoré river basin is said to amount to 55% of the fish species in the Amazon basin, from which 50 species of the Ramsar Site are migratory. Ramsar Site no. 2093. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Sitio Ramsar Río Yata. 02/02/2013; Beni; 2,813,229 ha; 12°18'32"S 066°06'11"W. Reserva Natural, Área de Manejo Integrado. A very large mosaic of ecosystems formed basically of recent alluvial plains, rivers, lakes, and marshes. Located in a transition zone, the site presents unique characteristics in terms of ecosystem formation processes and vegetal succession. It is estimated that the site supports more than 50,000 waterbirds; some 13 migratory species visit, and the site hosts more than 1% of the global population of the Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis. The fish community of the Marmoré river basin numbers 394 species, representing 55% of the fish species in the Amazon basin, and the site hosts more than 1% of the global population of the Bolivian river dolphin Inia boliviensis. There also 24 threatened species of vertebrates, including the Giant Otter. As elsewhere in the Amazon basin, the importance of rubber exploitation generates severe cultural and socio-environmental impacts which can have drastic effects on the indigenous population. The Ramsar Site is part of two Nature Reserves and the municipal Área Natural de Manejo Integrado Pampas del Río Yacuma. Ramsar Site no. 2094. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Back to top
Follow us 
Ramsar Awards 

The Convention today

Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

Ramsar Secretariat

Rue Mauverney 28
CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 22 999 0170
Fax: +41 22 999 0169
Map: click here

Ramsar Forum: subscribe