Human Ecology

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 27–40 | Cite as

Moving Territories: Strategic Selection of Boundary Concepts by Indigenous People in the Bolivian Amazon - an Element of Constitutionality?

  • Helen GambonEmail author
  • Stephan Rist


In this case study, we analyse to what extent the establishment of the Pilón Lajas Indigenous Territory and Biosphere Reserve in the Bolivian Amazon reflects the six elements of the concept of constitutionality. Our analysis elucidates what happened during the second phase of establishment, in which land rights of lowland indigenous peoples were extended to collective territorial rights including highland indigenous peoples and peasants. The case adds a dynamic perspective on the constitutionality framework by providing a longitudinal analysis of a bottom-up institution building process for natural resource governance.


Bolivian Amazon Conservation Protected areas Indigenous rights Collective property rights 



The authors thank Jill Belsky and four anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on the draft of the article, and Darcy Alexandra and Tina Hirschbuehl for language editing.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All actors involved in this research were informed about the aims of the study in a comprehensible manner; their decision to participate or not was respected throughout the research period.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest to disclose.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)University of BernBernSwitzerland

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