Local management of Andean wetlands in Sajama National Park, Bolivia

Elena Katia Villarroel, Paula Lady Pacheco Mollinedo, Alejandra I. Domic, José M. Capriles, Carlos Espinoza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Andean wetlands or bofedales are commonly used by indigenous communities for livestock production. Decisions regarding management of bofedales involve the active participation of local people and their social institutions. Consequently, any action addressing emerging challenges must be implemented in coordination and agreement with local actors. This decision process requires an understanding of the local socioeconomic and cultural dynamics, especially those related to land and natural resource management. In many Andean communities, the ayllu is the institution that governs decisions on regional land use. However, in the face of increasing challenges such as climate change and population growth, use of the ayllu has declined in favor of individual decision-making. Here we discuss how the Andean camelid herders of Sajama National Park in highland Bolivia rely on both the ayllu and family-level decision-making to manage their pastoralist landscapes, including their bofedales. Using a rights mapping methodology, we describe how water and wetlands are managed, and determine which decisions are taken at the community level and which are made at the family level. We conclude that indigenous collective organization networks are still significant for managing the system at a regional scale and possibly determinant for mitigating risks associated with climate change on sensitive ecosystems such as bofedales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-368
Number of pages13
JournalMountain Research and Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Development
  • General Environmental Science


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