Description of plantation resources
Few plantations were established in the past due to the country´s extensive forest resources. Recently, however, deforestation has occurred due to over-cutting for fuelwood. Nevertheless, the annual planting rate is not as large as the area deforested per year.
Eighty percent of the existing plantations has been established through projects with international financial assistance, the remaining 20 percent was established by the public sector.
Since the first establishment of forest plantations, the main purpose has been non-industrial. Though the main reason to establish plantations is to control soil erosion, they are also the source of commercially valuable products. Thus, when species were selected, both their capability for soil stabilization and wood production were considered, (Anon., 1998 and Freeman et al., 1980).
Development of forest plantations
The first plantation scheme was carried out in 1930 in La Paz. The species used was Eucalyptus globulus and its purpose was to reduce erosion on steep and unstable slopes surrounding the city. Since then, plantations have been developed slowly. Between 1975 and 1976, the total forest plantation area reached 7 800 ha (Freeman et al., 1980).
The Forestry Development Centre, (CDF) was created in 1974, and one of its tasks was to manage forest plantation programmes at the national level and provide assistance to public institutions and private owners. About the same time, laws to provide credits and fiscal incentives to encourage private activities related to forest plantations, were enacted.
In 1978, the Forestry Plantation National Programme (PRONAPLAN) was set up within the framework of CDF. The programme was responsible for all the reforestation activities of CDF and became a viable and significant force in promoting forest plantation activities in the country (Freeman et al., 1980).
In 1995, the Government of Bolivia invited an ITTO mission to recommend a strategy for the sustainable development of the country´s forests. ITTO suggested that one way to manage forests on a sustainable basis would be to supplement natural mahogany Swietenia spp. stands with plantations, either in pure or mixed stands or in agroforestry systems (ITTO, 1996).
In 1996 the total forest plantation area reached 40 000 ha (Anon., 1998).
The major species is Eucalyptus globulus, estimated to total about 90 percent of the plantation area. Though this species was considered unsuitable for controlling soil erosion, it was planted for this purpose with careful site selection due to its suitability for cool climates. This species is not only used for soil protection but also for fuelwood production.
The remaining plantations are composed of Pinus radiata, Cupressus spp., Acacia spp. and other species, both exotic and indigenous (Freeman, et al., 1980). More than twenty-five species of Eucalyptus and Pinus have been tried in the country, depending on site conditions such as altitude or soil (Anon., 1998).
No information available.
Some obstacles that limit the execution of management plans are the lack of finances, inadequate studies, shortage of skilled human resources and scarse interest by enterprises.
Perspectives to improve people´s participation and benefit from the sustainable management of forest resources, are few. Scarcity of knowledge and skills are the main causes. Generally, plantation forests are established under poor conditions, in flat areas where there are few communities (Anon., 1993).
MDS. 1993. Situación forestal de Bolivia. In 18th Session of the Forestry Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Montevideo, 6-10 December, 1993. La Paz. Ministerio de Desarrollo Sostenible y Planificación.
MDS. 1998. Informe nacional de la situacion forestal para el periodo 1996-1997. In 20th Session of the Forestry Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. La Habana, Cuba, 10-14 September, 1998. La Paz. Ministerio de Desarrollo Sostenible y Planificación.
Freeman, P.H., Cross, B., Flannery, R.D., Harcharik, D.A. & Hartshorn, G.S. 1980. Bolivia; state of the environment and natural resources.
ITTO. 1996. Future Directions for Bolivia, ITTO Tropical Forest Update, 1996/4. Yokohama, Japón. International Tropical Timber Organisation.