Project summary

Red-fronted Macaw (Ara rubrogenys) © D. Alarcón / C. MateuHow can a field guide help a nation develop sustainably and increase environmental awareness?

Bolivia is the sixth richest nation in the world for bird diversity, yet lacks a field guide and a comprehensive inventory of its birds. This means its wealth in avifauna is not well known, and bird watchers often hesitate to embark on birding trips to Bolivia.

A national-language field guide to a nation’s bird life also greatly increases its citizens’ awareness of their natural heritage and biodiversity. This leads to better conservation efforts and appreciation of their rich national biodiversity, while unleashing the economic benefits of increased ecotourism.

Achieving this in Bolivia would be a great start, but we believe we can do even more. Here at Asociación Civil Armonía, the not-for-profit conservation organization that’s producing the guide, we have years’ of experience coupling environmental protection and awareness raising with improved livelihoods for our people.

With this vision in mind, we are investing all the revenue from the book sales into the country’s sustainable development as well as raising environmental awareness locally, regionally, and nationally.

Sales of the books will fund:

  • The production of a companion volume in English and Spanish, a handbook with detailed species accounts for all of Bolivia’s birds (degree of completion 60% as of August 2013).
  • Capacity building workshops that will train and educate naturalists and guides in rural areas with ecotourism ventures, with emphasis on community-based projects.
  • Production of regional and local field guides in Spanish to raise specific environmental awareness and enhance local and regional knowledge.

Natural history guides are usually produced by a commercial publishing house with book sales mainly benefiting the publishers. There is no direct benefit for the sustainable development of the country covered by the guide, or for biodiversity conservation within its boundaries.

Our vision is different. We believe we can do better.

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