April 1, 2013
Bolivia designates world’s largest protected wetland
Bolivia: Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has designated its largest site ever. At more than 6,900,000 hectares, the Llanos de Moxos wetland is nearly as large as North Dakota. The wetlands are prized for their rich natural diversity, as well as their cultural value.
Llanos de Moxos is located near the borders of Bolivia, Peru and Brazil and consists of tropical savannas with cyclical droughts and floods. The region is traversed by three major rivers, the Beni in the west, the Iténez or Guaporé to the east, and the Mamoré in the central region. These rivers converge to form the Madeira River, the major southern tributary of the Amazon River.
The Llanos de Moxos wetlands are especially prized for their rich natural
diversity. Identified to date are at least:
Several species – including the giant otter and the Bolivian river dolphin – have been identified as vulnerable, endangered or at critical risk of extinction
“[World Wildlife Fund] applauds the government of Bolivia for taking bold action to protect these
vital ecosystems,” said Jim Leape, WWF International Director General. “The
Amazon basin, covering nine countries, supports native species and the millions
of people who live there – and plays an essential role in regulating the climate
we all depend on. Healthy wetlands support the proper functioning of the whole Amazon.”
Llanos de Moxos region was inhabited by pre-Columbian cultures from 800 B.C. -
1200 A.D. Historically, they're known as the “Moxos water-based cultures.” These
ancient peoples cleverly
used hydraulic infrastructures to manage water for the intensive agricultural
production on which the tribes survived.
Village © Gina Boltz
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