R.I. Meneses, E. García, K. Yager, E. Domic
Proceedings of the 14th International Peat Congress
andes, apolobamba, bofedales-altoandinos, national-park-service, perceptions-of-peatlands, state-of-conservation
Theme V. Restoration, rehabilitation and after-use of disturbed peatlands
The Integrated Managment Natural Area (ANMI) of Apolobamba in Bolivia is located in the eastern region of the Department of La Paz, near the border with Peru. ANMI was created in 1972 as the Ulla Ulla National Reserve of Fauna, and gained international recognition when designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1977. The biosphere reserve helps to protect high Andean (altoandino) ecosystems especially unique to the eastern Andes and is home to the largest population of vicuñas in the country. In 2000, the reserve was recategorized as an Integrated Management Natural Area and the total area of the park increased to 484,000 hectares (4840 km2). The landscape is characterized by a steep altitudinal gradient, extending from 800 m.a.s.l. up to 6200 m.a.s.l., and has multiple Andean biomes including the altiplano, puna, and humid forests of the yunga (Ribera and Liberman 2006). The area also forms part of the bi-national biological corridor Vilcabamba-Amboro, stertching through Peru and Bolivia, which is considered one of the most diverse hotspots in the world (Pauquet 2005).
ANMI Apolobamba is recognized as an important center of biodiversity, with a high number of endemic plant and animal species. The alpha diversity is not significantly high, but the gamma diversity is high considering the numerous watersheds and semi-isolated mountain tops. The unique Andean biodiversity is now considered highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Despite extreme climate conditions, the high altitude region is also a center for human settlement, including one of the oldest known Andean societies of traditional medicine, the Kallawayas. It is also a culturally historic region for traditional pastoralism of camelids and high altitude agriculture. Centuries of human occupation and use are reflected in the plants and landscape.