Biodiversity pp 313-327 | Cite as

Priorities for conservation in Bolivia, Illustrated by a continent-wide analysis of bird distributions

  • Jon Fjeldså
  • Carsten Rahbek


This paper reviews Bolivian avifauna from a continent-wide perspective. In a computer-based analysis with a 1° geographical resolution, humid Andean slopes exceed the Amazon rain forests and lowland savannas in species richness. The biota of hydrologically unstable lowlands are dominated by phylogenetically old species which take advantage of high levels of local habitat turnover and are therefore widespread. According to an analysis of complementarity of species ranges, a very small number of well chosen conservation areas is needed to cover all Amazonian species. A much higher number of conservation areas is needed in the Andes due to the complex patterns of endemism in that region. This difference is even more evident in Gap Analyses which pre-select (1) grids which are already well protected and (2) grids which are virtually uninhabited. It is found that the existing reserve network protects few species which are not already relatively safe in uninhabited areas, and largely fails to protect the most unique aggregates of endemic species in the Andes. These aggregates comprise species of rapidly radiating groups together with some relic taxa, the latter indicating local ecoclimatic stability. The human population pressures are particularly strong near places with peak concentrations of endemics (compared to areas with high species richness but low endemism), possibly because of ecoclimatic predictability, together with a stable water supply from cloud forest ridges. Such ecosystem functions are now threatened by habitat conversion. A balanced regional conservation strategy should comprise concentrated actions in centres of endemism (in Bolivia especially in the montane basins of La Paz and Cochabamba, and in Chuquisaca) and improvements at macropolitical level for sustainable management of widespread biota.


Conservation Area Montane Forest Tropical Lowland Lowland Rain Forest Bird Distribution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Prioridades de conservación en Bolivia, ilustradas por un análisis realizado en todo el continente sobre la distribución de las aves


El presente documento estudia la avifauna boliviana desde una perspectiva que abarca todo el continente. En un análisis basado en datos informáticos con un 1° propósito geográfico, las húmedas laderas andinas presentan una mayor riqueza de especies que la selva tropical amazónica y las sabanas de las tierras bajas. La biota de las tierras bajas hidrológicamente inestables está dominada por especies filogenéticamente viejas que se aprovechan de los altos niveles de transformación del hábitat local y están, por lo tanto, muy diseminadas.

Según un análisis de complementariedad de la extensión de las especies, se necesita un número muy reducido de áreas de conservación bien seleccionadas para cubrir todas las especies amazónicas. En los Andes se requiere un número considerablemente mayor de

áreas de conservación debido a los complejos patrones de endemismo en esa region. Esta diferencia resulta incluso mucho más evidente en Gap Analyses que preseleccionan (1) las áreas que ya están bien protegidas y (2) las áreas que están virtualmente deshabitadas. Parece que ei sistema de áreas protegidas existente protege a pocas especies que aún no se encuentran demasiado seguras en áreas deshabitadas y deja desprotegido al conjunto más importante y singular de especies endémicas de los Andes. Este conjunto auna especies de grupos de expansión rápida y algunos taxa superviviente, indicando esto último estabilidad ecoclimática local. La presión de la población humana es especialmente fuerte cerca de los lugares que muestran una alta concentración de especies endémicas (comparado con áreas con una gran riqueza de especies pero bajo endemismo), quizá a causa de la posibilidad de predicción ecoclimática, junto con un abastecimiento de agua estable procedente de las monta&#x00F1las con bosques de neblina. Tales funciones del ecosistema se encuentran ahora amenazadas por la transformación del hábitat. Una estrategia regional equilibrada de conservación debería incluir acciones concentradas en centros de endemismo (en Bolivia especialmente en los valles de La Paz y Cochabamba y en Chuquisaca) y mejoras a nivel macropolítico para fomentar un manejo sostenible de la biota general.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jon Fjeldså
    • 1
  • Carsten Rahbek
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre of Tropical DiversityCopenhagenDenmark

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