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The Peru-Bolivia Integrated Action Program (PAIPB) is being carried out in an area of approximately 112,300 km2 (11,230.000 ha) with physiographic features. Ranging in altitude between 170 m and 5,000 m, it contains a wide variety of ecosystems and biodiversity. The predominant binational area is the Amazonian Plain.


The Madre de Dios is the main axis of the river system of the study area. On the Peruvian side, it is approximately 655 km long, and its basin covers almost 95,000 km2 After its confluence with the Manú it becomes navigable, forming many meanders. It has numerous tributaries both in Peru and in Bolivia.

The region has mainly Quaternary sediments. In the river basins are alluvial fluvio-lacustrine deposits and terraces (gravel, sand, clay, loam) from the Neocene (Pliocene-Miocene). Shallow sediments from the Tertiary appear in the exposed sections of the principal rivers. In the east-central part they are covered by Quaternary sediments. However, the stratigraphic sequence at its deepest appears to be more complete, since just above the pre-Cambrian layer are rocks from the Ordovician period, which belong to the Tarene formation. From there upward the stratigraphic sequence (succession) is quite complete, with rocks from the Carboniferous, Permian, Cretaceous, and finally Quaternary epochs. This sequence suggests the presence of oil.

The study area has physiographic features of the Eastern Andes, the sub-Andean, and the Eastern plain. It is on the eastern flank of the Eastern Cordillera, with high glacier-capped mountains, deep valleys, and steep slopes. To the northeast it has sharply dissected mountains of medium size. The sub-Andean physiography, between the Andes and the Eastern plain, consists of mountain ranges running parallel to the Andes, with altitudes of about of about 2,000 m. The Amazonian Plain covers the northern and eastern regions of the study area. The soil is generally poor, but in the Northeast it has approximately 500 species of trees, of which 18 timber-yielding species and 14 non-timber-yielding species are listed as having potential economic value.

The 8,000-ha Peruvian ecosystem called the Heath Pampas extends towards Bolivian territory south of the Madre de Dios. These are grazing lands that flood periodically and occasionally catch fire in the dry season. Their flora and fauna are diverse and largely unknown.

In the southeast part of the study area is a variety of vegetation, with stands of dense forest ranging from montane to submontane and alluvial. The higher forests are the more valuable. The vegetation is characterized by thick-trunked, smooth-barked trees- -fast-growing explotaible species. Elsewhere there are tree ferns and palms. This kind of forest covers almost 80% of the region. There are also areas suitable for cultivation, both on the terraces and in the hills.

The great number of chestnut trees in the region has made the commerce in these species the main socioeconomic and ecologically sustainable activity. Its potential is estimated at more than 100,000 tons of nuts a year. At present the harvest is about 30% of this.

Rubber trees have a significant potential in the Bolivian side, but are not much exploited because of the low market price. On the Peruvian side, the exploitation of rubber in Tahuamanu decreased for various reasons, such as irrational in extraction, closure of the Agrarian Bank -which used to subsidize it- and lower-priced imports from Asia, until by 1990 it was no longer produced.

In the plains and the jagged hills are rubber and chestnut trees: chestnuts in the high areas with good drainage, and rubber, plus some potentially valuable palms, in relatively low areas with limited drainage. This area has an important timber potential, taking into account the 18 species considered to have economic value and a diameter at chest height of more than 0.50m.


The principal economic activity is the harvesting of chestnuts, which is done all over the region and could give rise to the processing of oil and flour. It is generally the main activity of small farmers except in the alluvial plains, where there are no such trees.

Selective exploitation of timber species such as mara, cedar, and tumi is increasing rapidly, though without management plans.

The territory is covered mainly by primary forests. The extraction of forest products is the principal land use, followed by agriculture, The low agricultural productivity is the combined effect of poor soil, alternating droughts and floods, and primitive techniques. Coffee, rice, and other crops are attacked by pests and diseases. Machinery, fertilizers, and improved seeds are almost nonexistent. The agriculture is mainly of the slash-and-burn variety for home consumption, mainly near populated areas and along the roads. Extensive cattle raising in the natural savannas is of small importance, but beef and some dairy cattle are raised near the larger towns and along roadsides and river banks. Stockraising is increasing in denuded areas where there used to be timber forests, using a small percentage of the suitable area.

The protected areas in Bolivia are the Manuripi-Heath National Reserve for Amazon Fauna, most of which is in Manuripi and Madre de Dios provinces, and the Madidi National Park and Natural Management Area in the Southwest. In Peru the protected areas are Bahuaja-Sonene National Park and the Tambopata-Candamo Reserve Zone in Tambopata, Madre de Dios Department.


The transportation system in the Peruvian-Bolivian border area contributes nothing to integrating and connecting communities. It is generally rudimentary and cannot support the marketing of local products or the movement of people.

On the Peruvian side, in Madre de Dios Department is a network of about 642.2 km of main and secondary roads. The principal one is the Urcos-Puerto Maldonado transverse axis, with a 531 km asphalt highway, which passes through the larger towns and joins the departmental roads with those of Cusco. There is another route from south to north of which 74 km were surfaced in 1997. In Puno Department the road between Juliaca, Putina, Sandia, and San Juan del Oro is the principal link between communities along that route and serves chiefly to transport raw materials produced in the zone. There is another road from Juliaca to Puente Otorongo that connects with the road between Puente Inambari and Iñapari.

In Bolivia, the study area is far from the main cities of the country. The northern part (Zone A) is linked to Cobija and Riberalta; the southern part (Zone B) is reached through La Paz, which shows the lack of domestic integration. The roads are generally passable in dry periods, but in the rainy season access is difficult. Domestic and foreign transport is by land, river, and in some places air. There is communication by radio and telephone. Roads are the most important means if domestic and foreign communications. According to information from the National Roads Service, more than 80% of the main roads are unpaved and a small amount is surfaced with crushed stone.

In the Peruvian zone, the Madre de Dios River is the main route for river transport. It crosses Madre de Dios Department from west to east, and is navigable by small boats all year and by medium-draft vessels between December and May.

In the Bolivian zone, rivers form a very important communication network, for people and cargo. There are more than 3,000 km of them, varying in navigability.

The Peruvian zone has an airfield at Iberia and the Puerto Maldonado International Airport, with daily commercial flights and weekly flights by the National Police and the Air Force. The principal destinations are Cusco, Lima, and Juliaca.

In Bolivia, limitations on the other means of transportation make air transport an important supplement for communications with the outside, despite the constraint of high costs, especially for freight. The airport at Cobija, which is not too distant, is used. It has a new asphalt landing strip and gravel strip.

The Peruvian zone does not generate enough electricity to meet the demand. The numerous rivers do not have enough drop for hydroelectricity. The department of Puno is better served in this respect.

The population of Riberalta, an important town in the Bolivian zone, has a permanent electricity supply. Towns such as San Buenaventura and Ixamas use generators that supply electricity 3 or 4 hours a day. In Pando, only three rural communities have and Ixamas use generators that supply electricity three or four hours a day. In Pando, only three rural communities have their own generators, which function for only a few hours a day. Puerto Rico has a generator that runs from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

The Peruvian zone has serious water problems. Only 40% of the border-area population is served by potable water and sewerage systems, and only 25% has household connections to these services.

According to the 1992 census, 77.2% of the families in the Bolivian zone do not have piped water; in the rural area the figure is 94.0%. The population gets its water from wells, water wheels, and streams, which cannot be counted on for water fit for human consumption.


The educational sector in the Peruvian zone is marked by a lack of integration with the local languages, the sociocultural characteristics of the population, and the national communication system. In Madre de Dios, the main problems are ethnic differences and the difficulty of access by land; in Puno it is the distance between communities.

According to the Subregional Bureau of Education of Madre de Dios, in 1994, 70% of the teachers were uncertified; 90% of the buildings were constructed of local materials, without technical advice. Adequate security systems, furniture, and teaching materials are lacking; 45% of the students are anemic to some degree (vitamin A, iron, and iodine deficiency) and their school work suffers for it. Means of communication routes are inadequate. The lack of electricity often prevents schools from using computers that have been donated to them.

In the Puno area, the educational services are deficient and inadequate, and equipment, infrastructure, and teaching staff are limited in various ways.

In the Bolivian zone, Iturralde and Franz Tamayo provinces have elementary and secondary systems in their towns. In Pando Province, the schools in Puerto Rico and El Sena are in an intermediate situation: they have basic and intermediate curricula and thus fall halfway between the categories of Central Educational Unit and Subcentral Educational Unit. The schools in other scattered communities, which provide only elementary education, belong to the Subcentral level.

Health conditions in the Peruvian zone are defective. The inadequate health-care system, the lack of basic services, and poor habits of cleanliness are the main reasons. Santa Rosa Hospital in Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios Department, is the most complete in the border area. Puno has only health centers and posts. They are little used; people prefer the traditional empirical methods and self-medication. The principal causes of morbidity are infectious and parasitic diseases (24.8%), respiratory ailments (17.4%), and injuries and poisoning (12.6%). The high level of malnutrition in children makes this the fourth leading cause of death in the region. Border areas differ greatly from the capital cities, both in rates and in kinds of diseases. Death rates from poisoning and/or social violence are four times higher than in Lima.

In the Bolivian zone, the Ministry of Public Health and international organizations have made a considerable improvement in health, though there are still problems rising from malnutrition, especially in children. The completion of the water and sewer facilities being built in some towns will also help to improve public health. However, in the rural areas, the flimsy housing and the lack of safe drinking water and sewerage will continue to cause serious health problems, which are worsened by the lack of communication with towns that have public health units suitable for the health problems of scattered populations.


The native/indigenous population in the study area numbers 8.531, of whom 34.5% live in Peru and 65.5% in Bolivia, Of the total population, 54% are men and 46% are women. They are made up of small groups belonging to either of two lines: the Tacana-speaking Arawak, who migrated from the west, and those of Pano origin, who come from the lower reaches of the Madera River. Most of these communities Shrank and broke up during the boom periods of quinine and later rubber.

Some of the communities live in conservation areas, which is generally favorable for them, but they need access to and control of natural resources.

The settlement pattern is characterized by low density, high mobility, and dispersion, which match the limitations of the region and the people’s need to live by farming, hunting, fishing, and gathering. The communities tend to cluster according to either tradition or language group, with a chief of native justice who is in charge of a certain number of communities and deals with disputes that are not resolved within the community, as in cases of homicides, witchcraft, or revenge.



From the standpoint of natural resources, the study area has good potential for economic development. In general terms, the main prospects for development are the following:

· Forests with promising species. If more were learned about the use of the species and plans for managing large-scale exploitation were devised, conditions for creating industries would be very favorable.

· The existence of numerous edible plants and plants producing oils, essences, and medicines that could be developed in the future, as subsistence crops and agroindustrial projects.

· Areas with farming potential, mainly cattle raising in Ixiamas region, and crops in San Buenaventura-Tumupasa. There are also important forest resources that have not yet been properly quantified.

· The availability of good soils for cultivation and cattle-raising, especially in the Inambari basin. The best area is the stretch between Laberinto Island and Tres Islas because it does not flood. The next-best is the Tambopata Basin between Filadelfia and its confluence with the Madre de Dios.

· A high fishery potential, not only because of the number and quality of exploitable species, but also because of the extensive network of rivers suitable for the development of fish farming.

· A wealth of wild vertebrate and invertebrate fauna, not only for research on the importance of animals in the food chain but also for taxonomic studies of wild fauna, especially invertebrates

· The small and scattered population in the area, mainly to the north of La Paz, which makes it possible to plan the use and management of natural resources and the appropriate settlement.

· The ecotourism potential of the region, which could spark the regional economy because of its multiplier effect

· The knowledge accumulated by the native people about the integral use of the forest, which provides them with the means of subsistence, medicinal plants, and building materials, and the importance they attribute to conservation. A joint inventory should be taken with the native communities of the principal medicinal and dye plants to study the traditional cultivation, exploitation, and management practices and restore them to use.


The principal constraints on development in the area are the following:

· Insufficient and inadequate internal and external communication, which contributes to isolating the region from the rest of the countries.

· Ignorance of the ecology and lack of appropriate technology, which lead to low yields per unit of land, low earnings for farmers, and high dependence on basic products from other regions.

· The use of agricultural and extractive methods unsuited to the humid tropics, which exert high pressure on natural resources.

· The extreme distance of farm areas from consuming centers and lack of public agencies to market the products.

· A lack of services - mainly inputs, credit, and technical assistance - for farm production.

· Deficient transport infrastructure: lack of roads, limited air transportation, and scarce and irregular river transportation, especially in periods of low water. Also, inadequate port infrastructure and boats of shallow draft and small capacity.

· Lack of social services, because of the region’s isolation, the pattern of settlement, the small size of the population, and the financial limitations of the administrative and regional structure

· Poor health care, with a shortage of medical and public-health staff and of medicines and equipment. Lack of education of the population in preventive medicine.

· High illiteracy and a lack of infrastructure and proper equipment in most rural schools.

· Absence of or defects in public services such as energy, drinking water, and sewerage.

· Progressive loss of indigenous structures and authority caused by bringing in local authorities from outside, ignoring the traditional social and political organization. Low participation of these groups in the making of decisions on the management of their territories. Lack of basic infrastructure for native communities, including clinics or health posts, schools, warehouses, and marketing centers.

· A lack of coordination and budget for regional activities, partly because of the low rank and political level of the regional agencies, the limited regional population, and the absence of established local structures to regulate activities and obtain resources.

· Lack of institutional support for research, training, and marketing programs, which further hampers the development of productive activities and the efficient and rational use of renewable resources.

· Absence of a tourism infrastructure that would enable it to be included in Amazon tourist circuits.


In accordance with the objectives, policies, and programs in the development plans of both countries, the regional objectives for the study area can be summarized as follows:

· Full incorporation of the area into the economic and productive activity of Bolivia and Peru, by means of rational use of its natural resources and the effective occupation of the border, binational integration with the respective countries, in terms of communications and political, social, and economic interaction.

· Improvement of the standard of living through the creation of productive activities and sources of employment and the installation of appropriate physical and socio-economic infrastructure.

· Effective occupation of the territory based on sustained long-term models of production that take the local ecology into account and have the active participation of the residents in the development process, within a framework of integrated regional development;

· Identification of natural resources potentially useful for development purposes, in order to consolidate the current settlements and guide future ones without environmental degradation,

· Substantial improvement of the territorial, social, legal, economic and ecological aspects of indigenous communities and the preservation of areas they have traditionally inhabited.

General Strategies

Four topics are proposed for priority consideration: the regularization of the current situation; the establishment of new production systems; the expansion of infrastructure and social services to progressively improve the standard of living; and the creation of environment conservation units.

The means toward these ends need to be selected systematically, the necessary resources allocated rationally, and the proposed programs and projects coordinated with those currently underway. The actions should be integrated functionally, related vertically and horizontally in such a way as to optimize the benefits of the resources invested and contribute to efficient execution. This integration should follow the general criterion of choosing those areas with the highest development potential in the various time frames to meet the regional and national objectives. The necessary research and development on new production systems and alternatives will include model farms with extension modules in agriculture, stock raising, forest management, fish farming, agroindustry, and other activities.

The progressive improvement in living standards should be achieved by providing basic social services; respecting the rights, organizations, and cultural values of ethnic groups; ensuring permanent communication and transport; consolidating rural settlements for the benefit of their inhabitants; and developing urban centers in a well-planned manner. Special attention must be paid to the indigenous communities.

Environmental conservation units should be created by zoning the region in accordance with its potentials, planning development actions in accordance with this zoning, and establishing effective mechanisms for both purposes. Existing national parks in the region should be included in the conservation units and the possibilities of turning them into binational or multinational parks should be studied.


The characteristics of the region, the objectives for the area and the strategies outlined in accordance with the region’s potentials and limitations have made it possible to identify specific projects in the areas of production development and sustainable use of natural resources, social development, and environmental management and protection. The section below lists the binational projects identified and prioritized for formulation and implementation, No information is presented on national projects, inasmuch as they are still in the preparatory stage.

1. Improvement of Navigability on the Madre de Dios River and Its Main Tributaries

2. Promotion of Cross-Border Trade

3. Integral Attention to Health Care

4. Promotion of Tourism to the Amazon Area

5. Use of Forest, Agricultural, and Hydrobiological Resources

- Forest Resources
- Projects on Forest Recovery
- Consolidation of Agriculture
- Management of Wild Animals in Captivity
- Integral Management of Fisheries
- Management and Development of Ornamental Fisheries
- Management and Development of Artisanal Fishing
- Training and Promotion for the Development of Artisanal Fishing and Aquaculture
- Research on Aquaculture Development

6. Establishment of Binational Parks or Natural Areas for Protection

- Manuripi-Heath National Reserve
- Madidi National Park and Natural Area of Integrated Management

7. Integral Attention to Native Communities

- Education and Training
- Health
- Consolidation of Agriculture
- Trade (boat trading)

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