Madidi National Park

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Madidi National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Madidi park.JPG
Madidi National Park, Bolivia
Map showing the location of Madidi National Park
Map showing the location of Madidi National Park
LocationLa Paz,  Bolivia
Nearest cityRurrenabaque, Beni
Coordinates13°48′0″S 67°38′0″W / 13.80000°S 67.63333°W / -13.80000; -67.63333Coordinates: 13°48′0″S 67°38′0″W / 13.80000°S 67.63333°W / -13.80000; -67.63333
Area18,957.5 km²[1]
EstablishedSeptember 21, 1995
Governing bodySERNAP Servicio Nacional de Áreas Protegidas

Madidi (Spanish pronunciation: [maˈðiði]) is a national park in the upper Amazon river basin in Bolivia. Established in 1995,[2] it has an area of 18,958 square kilometres, and, along with the nearby protected (though not necessarily contiguous) areas Manuripi-Heath, Apolobamba, and (across the border in Peru) the Manu Biosphere Reserve, Madidi is part of one of the largest protected areas in the world.[3]

Ranging from the glacier-covered peaks of the high Andes Mountains to the tropical rainforests of the Tuichi River, Madidi and its neighbors are recognized as one of the planet's most biologically diverse regions.[4] In particular, Madidi protects parts of the Bolivian Yungas and Bolivian montane dry forests ecoregions.[5]

The Madidi National Park can be reached from Rurrenabaque if you cross the Beni River with the small passenger ferry over to San Buenaventura.

The local people who have migrated here from the Andean highlands speak the Quechua language. The cultures who find their origin here are the Tacana, the Mosete, the Tsimane, and the Ese Ejja, all of which have their own language which pertains to one language group.[6]

Some ecolodges are found in and around the Madidi National Park. The oldest and best known is Chalalan Ecolodge in Chalalán on the Tuichi River, a successful community-based enterprise that generates significant economic benefits to indigenous communities (Malky et al., 2007).


The National Park and Integrated Management Natural Area Madidi is located in the Northwest region of the Department of La Paz, in the provinces Franz Tamayo, Iturralde and Abel Bautista Saavedra. The municipalities involved are Apolo, San Buenaventura, Ixiamas, Curva, and Pelechuco.

Adjacent to the west, with the Tambopata-Candamo Reserve and Bahuaja-Sonene National Park in Peru, on the east by the TCO (Tierra Comunitaria de Origen / Indigenous community land) Tacana I, on the north by TCO Tacana II and south adjacent to the Integrated Management Natural Area National Apolobamba, TCO Lecos Apolo, TCO Lecos Larecaja and Pilón Lajas Biosphere Reserve and Communal Lands.

The PN and IMNA Madidi is one of the largest protected areas in Bolivia, with a total land area, according to the Supreme Decree building 18957.5 square kilometers, of which 12,715 km² come under the heading of National Park and 6,242.5 km² are categorized under the Integrated Management Natural Area.

Its boundaries are between 12° 30' and 14° 44' southern latitude and between 67° 30' and 69° 51' western longitude.

The area under conservation covers an altitudinal gradient ranging from 180 to 5,760 meters above sea level and has a variety of ecosystems.


The climate is cold in the alpine region, temperate in areas of intermediate elevation, and tropical in the northern lowlands.

The winds come predominantly from the north, and cold fronts from the south have little impact on the temperature of the Madidi region. The dry season coincides with the austral winter. The average annual temperature is 26 C but varies greatly depending on the altitude. Isotemas

According to data from Assane (2002), in the region of Apollo the annual rainfall is 716 mm; the rainy season is from October to March, and the dry season is from May to September.Isoyetas[7]


Rosa Maria Ruiz is a woman who has fought for the park and its conservation for over 20 years. She was the founder of Eco-Bolivia, an organization that was instrumental in establishing Madidi National Park in the 1990s. In 2000, Ruiz led a team from the National Geographic through the Madidi National park, the resulting article drew significant international attention to the area, and assisted in derailing plans for the construction of a hydroelectric dam within the park. The organization ceased to operate in 2002. Ruiz now continues her work through Madidi Travel, an organisation committed to the consolidation of the Madidi Mosaic by generating income from sustainable tourism. Madidi Travel currently operates the Serere Sanctuary, a four thousand hectare private reserve, located three hours from Rurrenabaque by boat.[8][9]

Ted Parker, famed ornithologist at Cornell University, also had a hand in the establishment of Madidi National Park. See:


More than 20,000 species are found in Madidi.


Dr. Robert Wallace, wildlife biologist, is credited for discovering in Madidi a previously unidentified titi monkey, a new species to science. This monkey is endemic to the area. The right to name the new species was auctioned through an agreement between the scientists, the Bolivian National Protected Area Service (SERNAP), and the Foundation for the Development of the Protected Areas (FUNDESNAP). This effort has raised U$650,000 for a trust fund that now generates enough income to pay for fourteen park guards annually. The park is also notable for its over 1,254 bird species, representing 14% of the world’s 9,000 bird species.[10]

In addition to the biodiversity found on its land, there is also a rich and varied life found here in the water with many fish species.

(undescribed species not included)


National Park and Natural Integrated Management Area Madidi is home to several ventures of Responsible Tourism and Community Ecotourism, one of the most recognized locally and internationally Chalalan Ecolodge, owned by the indigenous people of San José de Uchupiamonas. Followed by San Miguel del Bala Ecolodge owned San Miguel Tacana community, both located in the Madidi National Park. Recently there were opened other local initiatives as Berraco del Madidi Amazon adventure tour, Madidi Jungle Ecolodge, Sadiri Ecolodge and Ecolodge Madidi heart.

Chalalan Ecolodge is a community ecotourism venture that belongs to the indigenous village of San José de Uchupiamonas, which receives the profits produced by the hostel, besides contributing in other areas such as health and education. Chalalan operates since 1999 offering tours to the Madidi National Park. The tourism product includes transportation from Rurrenabaque to the hostel on a tour of the Beni and Tuichi rivers, cabin accommodation Tacana style rooms with private bathrooms, international fusion cuisine - English Amazon and guidance for indigenous community who speak Quechua, Spanish and they are trained and certified. Chalalan has a system of solar panels that feed the hostel with clean energy and has a system of solid waste management and wastewater treatment to reduce its environmental impact. The hostel has 9 cabins located in the vicinity of Lake Chalalan, which has taken the name for the hostel. Chalalan has 30 km of environmental interpretation trails, paddle canoes to get around the lagoon, a large gazebo and a dining room that also has a social area. The average stay is 4 days and 3 nights.

Berraco Madidi Amazon adventure tour is a private initiative of a member of the indigenous community Quechua-Tacana José de Uchupiamonas, located in the Madidi National Park and Natural Area of Integrated Management, The idea arose in 2007 and became a reality in 2010, with great enthusiasm and a lot of experience gained over many years as a guide. It is operated 100% by the population of the community in order to generate jobs and benefits to it. The camps (Ecocamp) is surrounded in the same territory as the community (210 thousand hectares), the Ecocamp is 6 hours away by boat outboard motor, it is the deepest in the Madidi National Park and has cabins built traditionally Quechua-Takana style using the same natural resources. Madidi Jungle Ecolodge has been open to visitors in mid-2011, is a 100% local initiative, operated by indigenous families of the TCO San José de Uchupiamonas, which comprises 210 hectares of forest within the Madidi National Park, region Amazon of Bolivia. The Ecolodge is located 3.5 hours away by motor boat sailing upstream the Beni and Tuichi rivers in the Madidi National Park and has a capacity to accommodate 14 visitors in traditional Amazonian style cabins.

The enterprises of Responsible Tourism and Ecotourism settled within the Madidi National Park, comfortable boats offer transportation, unique accommodation, the best local guides and interpreters exquisite and delicious homemade food prepared on the basis of local products. Rurrenabaque is its beginning to live this unforgettable adventure ecotourism by visiting the Bolivian Amazon.

The Bala Dam Project[edit]

One of the threats against the Madidi NP have been (and perhaps still is) the proposed Bala Dam Project at the Beni River in the Bala Gorge, where the Beni River breaks through the Bala Mountain Range.

The proposed hydroelectric dam project has a long history, and the project (and its threats against the nature in the area) was especially relevant about the year 1998. After some years the project apparently was given up, but the idea has come up again in 2007.

The dam would cause the flooding of a huge area, about 2000 square kilometre, including a great part of the Madidi NP, and the catastrophic consequences are evident.

Potential dam failures and dam break would have catastrophic consequences. Numerical simulation suggests that the whole area would be flooded for several days.[11]

The Apolo-Ixiamas road project[edit]

Another of the main threats against Madidi is the proposed construction of the Apolo-Ixiamas road. This is an old demand from some local politicians and communities from the Altiplano, who want to colonize the park for timber and agriculture exploitation. However, independent studies from the NGO Conservation Strategy Fund have shown that this project is not a good development alternative for the region (Fleck et al., 2006a, 2006b). The project is economically unfeasible and would induce significant deforestation within the protected area (Fleck et al., 2006b).

Environmental losses caused by the road project could threaten current and future conservation and tourism activities in this protected area, which generate significant economic benefits to the region (Fleck et al., 2006a; Malki et al., 2007). Alternative investments such as improving the road that connects Apolo to La Paz (Peñarrieta & Fleck, 2007) and directing the road investment towards social investments such as health and education (Fleck et al., 2006b) have greater prospects of improving local quality of life while maintaining the important environmental services provided by Madidi.

See also[edit]


Fleck, L. C., Amend, M., Painter, L., Reid, J. (2006a). Regional economic benefits from conservation: the case of Madidi. Serie Técnica No. 5. Conservation Strategy Fund, Bolivia. 82 p..

Fleck, L. C., Painter, L., Reid, J., Amend, M. (2006b). A road through Madidi: an environmental-economic analysis. Serie Técnica No. 6. Conservation Strategy Fund, Bolivia. 100 p..

Malky, A., Pastor, C,Limaco, A., Mamani, G., Limaco, Z., Fleck, L. C. (2007). El efecto Chalalán: Un ejercicio de valoración económica para una empresa comunitaria. Serie Técnica No. 13. Conservation Strategy Fund, Bolivia. 74 p..

Peñarrieta, L., Fleck, L. C. (2007). Beneficios y costos del mejoramiento de la carretera Charazani - Apolo. Serie Técnica No. 14. Conservation Strategy Fund, Bolivia. 76 p..

  1. ^ "SERNAP". Retrieved 2008-02-10.
  2. ^ "Right to Name New Monkey Auctioned for Conservation". Environment News Service, international daily newswire. 2005-02-10. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
  3. ^ "Is This the World's Most Diverse National Park?". The New York Times. 2018-05-22. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  4. ^ "Wildlife Conservation Society". Archived from the original on 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2008-02-10.
  5. ^ Olson, D. M, E. Dinerstein; et al. (2001). "Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World: A New Map of Life on Earth". BioScience. 51 (11): 933–938. doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2001)051[0933:TEOTWA]2.0.CO;2.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ "THE EXPEDITION TO APOLOBAMBA". Retrieved 2007-09-23.
  7. ^ MADIDI DE BOLIVIA, MAGICO, UNICO Y NUESTRO 2001 (Spanish) Archived 2006-06-14 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ ""Bolivia burning. An environmentalist's vision in ashes", published in "Earth Island Journal"". Retrieved 2008-12-12.
  9. ^ "The thread "Rurrenbaque Tours - Madidi Travel", The Thorn Tree travel forum, 24-Nov-2008". Retrieved 2008-12-12.
  10. ^ "Why Is Madidi So Amazing?". Wildlife Conservation Society. Archived from the original on 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2007-09-23.
  11. ^ "Science Engineering & Sustainability: Dam break simulation with HEC-RAS: Chepete proposed dam". Science Engineering & Sustainability. Retrieved 2019-05-04.

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