Bolivian Community Unites to Establish the Quebracho and Condor Nature Reserve
The Laderas Norte Community, the NATIVA Foundation, and Nature and Culture International established the first rural municipal protected area in Bolivia’s Southeastern Tarija Province that will protect important nesting ground for the emblematic condor.
On August 24, 2023, the City Council unanimously approved the law establishing the Quebracho and Condor Nature Reserve, covering 8,144.57 acres. The reserve is particularly special because of its role in the preservation of the Andean condor (Vultur Gryphus) and the rare white Quebracho tree (Aspidosperma quebracho blanco).
A tragic background
In February 2021, a devastating incident struck the Laderas Norte community in Bolivia. Thirty-four majestic condors perished after consuming poisoned meat. This incident had a profound impact on both the local area and the entire nation.
The condor is a symbol of South America and holds a special place as Bolivia’s national bird. Beyond its symbolic importance, this majestic bird serves as a crucial component of ecosystems. As a scavenger, it plays a vital role in preventing the spread of harmful bacteria that can pose health risks to humans. Additionally, it aids in regulating the populations of various species, contributing to the overall balance and harmony of local ecosystems.
However, its population has experienced a rapid decline, going from being listed as “Near Threatened” to “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List in December 2020.
The community of Laderas Norte, known for its commitment to conservation, donated 141 acres to the municipality a decade ago to protect the condor and the only white quebracho forest in the Central Valley of Tarija. It was in this very place that the lifeless condors were found, worrying the local population, and prompting them to take action.
A turning point toward conservation
The community, in its eagerness to avoid future tragedies and protect its environment, requested support from the authorities and social organizations to improve their quality of life through conservation and sustainable development projects. In addition, they expressed their concern about the illegal exploitation of timber in the area, a threat to valuable species such as cedar (Cedrela lilloi), red quina (Myroxylon peruiferum), walnut (Junglas australis), tipa (Tipuana tipu), among others.
Thus began the collaboration between the community of Laderas Norte, the NATIVA Foundation, our implementing partner in Bolivia, and Nature and Culture. Despite the challenges, such as border conflicts and misinformation, the creation of the Quebracho and Condor Nature Reserve was achieved.
The reserve is notable for several key reasons: it plays a critical role in preserving the Andean condor, protecting the white quebracho tree, conserving vital ecosystems spanning from the Central Valley of Tarija to the Bolivian Tucuman Jungle, safeguarding water sources, and ensuring the safety of endangered species like the quirusilla plant (Gunnera apiculata). Furthermore, it serves as a picturesque destination, making it an excellent choice for adventure tourism.
This achievement is a testament to the commitment and determination of the Laderas Norte community. By declaring their territory a “municipal protected area in perpetuity,” they have taken a bold step toward conservation.
This milestone has been made possible thanks to more than two years of collaboration between the community of Laderas del Norte, the NATIVA Foundation, the Municipal Government of Tarija, the Ministry of Environment, the Directorate of Tourism and the Municipal Council, with the Environment and Tourism commissions, backed by the financial support of Nature and Culture International and Andes Amazon Fund.
Congratulations to the community of Laderas del Norte and all the organizations that made it possible!