Priority Zones to Conservation

  1. Las Serranías de Santiago de Chiquitos y Chochís (Municipio de Roboré)

This mountain range constitutes the most important centre of plant endemism in the Eastern part of Santa Cruz Department, in the Cerrado biome in Bolivia, and probably in the whole of Eastern Bolivia. There are about 38 species endemic to this mountain range and a total of some 59 species endemic to Bolivia can be found here. This total represents some 50% of the total of endemic species both in the east of Santa Cruz Department and of the whole Cerrado biome in Bolivia. Additionally there are some 36 other plant species present here but unknown elsewhere in Bolivia. These are listed at the end of this section. Obviously there could be changes in these figures as the result of further research but we doubt whether these changes will be significant. It should be noted that the level of endemism is much higher than that of the Noel Kempff Park where there are only 23 species endemic to the park with a total of only 28 Bolivian endemics present although the area is much larger and more diverse.

The heart of this zone consists of the summits and southern slopes of the mountain range lying to the north of Roboré from Santa Bárbara in the west, passing Motacú which reaches more than 1100 m in altitude, to the mountains of Santiago de Chiquitos in the east.  All the endemic and rare species grow within this central area but a good number are also found further to the west, especially in the mountains around Chochís. The high level of endemism in this region is the result of a number of factors. The relative isolation of the mountain range, its height (Cerro Chochís reaches more than 1300 m in altitude) combined with a wide range of habitats, which include permanent streams, are key factors. In the area can be found Chiquitano Dry Forest, cerradão, campo cerrado and, on the mountain-top plateaux, campo limpo and campo sujo as well as rock outcrops, cliffs, campo rupestre, rock towers, permanent streams and gallery forest. Geologically the range is formed of sandstone with sandy or stony soils. It is precisely on the rock outcrops where the majority of the area’s rare and endemic plants are found.

Most of this mountain range lies within the Reserva Departamental del Valle de Tucavaca but this reserve does not have adequate staff to make protection effective although it merits protection at national level. Given the high level of plant endemism, the diversity of specialised habitats combined with iconic scenery (La Torre de Chochís, Cerro Chochís, El Arco de Piedra near Santiago de Chiquitos) and the presence of archaeological sites with rock paintings, it is recommended that this area is included within the system of national parks.

Although there are no obvious current threats to the mountain-top plateaux or the rock outcrops in this zone, there exist long-term threats from mining activities as the area is rich in iron ore and perhaps other minerals. However there is also an immediate short-term threat to the cerrados on the plains around Santiago de Chiquitos and San Juanamo because of clearance of the natural vegetation and planting with introduced pasture grasses, a development which has already taken place in some places in this area. These cerrados are probably the most diverse floristically in the whole country with the exception of the hilltop plateaux in this region and the Serranía de Huanchaca. There are present various species unknown elsewhere in Bolivia including Croton racemiflorus, Manihot stricta, Mimosa alleniana and a new species of Mimosa as well as endemic species such as Mimosa josephina, Ipomoea sp. nov., Centratherum cardenasii and Ichthyothere sp. nov. If this whole area were incorporated in the system of national parks, it would raise the profile of conservation efforts in the zone and help negotiations with landowners to maintain traditional, sustainable land use on their properties. It is also recommended that the mayor of Roboré and the FCBC negotiate with landowners to explain the danger to biodiversity and invite their cooperation in the conservation of the cerrados through traditional land management, ideally signing agreements with them to formalise verbal agreements.

  • Endemic plant species restricted to this zone (38)

Acanthaceae: Justicia adhaerens, Justicia mesetarum subsp. chiquitana.
Amaranthaceae: Gomphrena cardenasii, Pfaffia rotundifolia
Amaryllidaceae: Hippeastrum starkiorum
Anacardiaceae: Astronium sp. nov.
Apocynaceae: Blepharodon crabrorum, Blepharodon philibertioides
Asteraceae: Bidens herzogii, Calea dalyi, Calea sp.nov., Praxelis chiquitensis, Vernonia sp.nov. 1.
Bromeliaceae: Fosterella yuvinkae, Pitcairnia mohammadii, Pitcairnia platystemon, Tillandsia rosacea
Convolvulaceae: Ipomoea sp. nov.
Eriocaulaceae: Syngonanthus sp.nov.
Euphorbiaceae: Cnidoscolus orientensis, Manihot sp. nov. 1, Manihot sp. nov. 2.
Lamiaceae: Hyptis sp. nov. 4,
Leguminosae: Mimosa auriculata, Mimosa sp. nov.1
Malvaceae: Pavonia sp. nov., Peltaea chiquitana
Melastomataceae: Lavoisiera sp, Tibouchina sp. 1, Tibouchina sp. 2, Tibouchina sp. 3
Plantaginaceae: Plantago sp. nov.
Poaceae: Altoparadiseum scabrum var. bolivianum, Schizachyrium sp. nov., Steinchisma sp. nov., Paspalum sp.nov.
Rubiaceae: Galianthe chiquitosiana, Mitrocarpus bicrucis

  • Other Bolivian endemic species present in this zone (21)

Aristolochiaceae: Aristolochia chiquitensis
Asteraceae: Aspilia cardenasii, Centratherum cardenasii, Ichthyothere sp.nov., Vernonia sp.nov. 3
Bromeliaceae: Pitcairnia chiquitana
Cactaceae: Cleistocactus samaipatanus, Frailia chiquitana
Convolvulaceae: Ipomoea sp. nov. 1, Jacquemontia sp. nov.
Leguminosae: Arachis cruziana, Arachis herzogii, Arachis magna, Mimosa dalyi, Mimosa jacobita, Mimosa josephina, Mimosa neptunioides, Mimosa sp.nov.
Poaceae: Paspalum sp. nov. 3.
Pteridophyta: Elaphoglossum cruziense, Selaginella arroyana

  • Plants restricted to this zone in Bolivia, but known from other countries (36)

Los helechos Anemia oblongifolia, Anemia tricorrhiza, Cheilanthes goyazensis, Cyathea phalerata, los Cyperaceeas Bulbostylis schomburgkiana, Rhynchospora albiceps, Rhynchospora. rupestris, Rhynchospora. spruceana, los árboles Podocarpus sellowii y Qualea cryptantha, los pastos Axonopus herzogii, Anthaenantiopsis perforata, Ctenium polystachya, Eragrostis perennis, Paspalum ammodes, Paspalum crispatum y Paspalum macranthecium,  los arbustos Eugenia paranahybensis, Psidium missionum, Guapira graciliflora, Ilex affinis, Hyptidendron canum, Psidium bergianum, Psidium missionum y numerosas hierbas que incluyen Croton antisyphiliticus, Periandra mediterranea, Chamaecrista rigidifolia, Justicia hassleri, Salvia grewiifolia, Paepalanthus jahnii, Vernonia desertorum, Vernonia virgulata, Piriqueta corumbensis, Tetrapterys humilis, Dalechampia adscendens, Croton racemiflorus, Sphaereupatorium scandens y Baccharis orbignyana.

  • There is also an interesting group of cerrado plants known in Bolivia only from the mountains at Roboré and Huanchaca: Andira vermifuga, Anemia buniifolia, Anemia elegans, Anemia lanuginosa, Dyckia gracilis, Elaphoglossum plumosum, Phlebodium pseudoaureum, Ctenium chapadense, Rhynchospora nardifolia, Rhynchospora terminalis, Utricularia neottioides, Barjonia laxa, Declieuxia cordigera, Polygala hirsuta, Ipomoea echioides, Minara cordata y Hemipogon acerosus.
  • There is also another small group of cerrado plants known only in Bolivia from the Roboré mountains and Cerro Mutún: Viguiera squalida, Stylosanthes bracteata, Asclepias candida, Peltaea edouardii. There is a high risk that these plants will disappear from Cerro Mutún because of mining activities leaving only those on the mountains near Roboré.

2. The corridor between the serranías of Chochis-Santiago (Roboré) and the Parque Histórico de Santa Cruz la Vieja at San José.

The Chiquitano mountains extend between the small Parque Histórico de Santa Cruz la Vieja through a series of isolated peaks and ridges until they join the large mountains of Chochis-Santiago de Chiquitos. Along this line is found the cerrado chaqueño or “Abayoy” which is at its best around Ipias and Taperas, and along the old road from Taperas to Roboré. This area forms a corridor between the two currently protected areas and is host to a diversity of plants important for conservation.

This corridor is mainly made up of an undulating sandy plain covered in a distinctive dense scrub. It is not strictly cerrado as it does not normally burn but it does contain significant cerrado elements in considerable abundance such as the “tree”, Dipterix alata, which here grows in the form of a shrub. Various elements are found in this corridor:

  • Endemic and rare plants with links to the serranías of Santiago de Chiquitos-Chochís.

In this region are found a group of endemic species which only occur elsewhere around Santiago de Chiquitos y Chochís, generally on sandy soil. The list of endemic species include Centratherum cardenasii, Mimosa josephina, Mimosa dalyi and new species of  Manihot, Eugenia, Ipomoea, Ichthythere and Jacquemontia. Among rare plants with the same distribution in Bolivia are Gochnatia barrosii, Hemipogon acerosus, Myrcia multiflora, Panicum cervicatum y Paspalum macranthecium.

  • Rare and endemic chaco plants.

Several endemic species with a chaco distribution occur here including Croton roborensis, Eragrostis chiquitensis and new species of Poecilanthe and Eragrostis. Additionally there is a good number of plants with a chaco distribution in Bolivia and Paraguay but which are rare in both countries. This group includes Aristolochia lindneri, Turnera blanchetiana, Pavonia neei and a new species of Solanum.

  • Plants with links to the caatinga of northeastern Brazil.

This small group is of great interest from the point of view of plant geography because they might be relict populations of species with a wider distribution in drier eras of the Pleistocene. Plants which belong to this group include Mimosa acutistipula, Hyptis platanifolia, Pityrocarpa moniliformis and Tabebuia selachidentata. It is quite possible that future studies will reveal further species with this unexpected distribution pattern.
Although this area is very accessible and has no legal protection, it does not face any obvious threat as the soils are not very suitable for sowing imported grasses or for cattle ranching. However, it would be valuable to provide legal protection linking the two presently protected areas of the Parque Histórico Nacional de Santa Cruz la Vieja en San José and the Departamental Reserve del Valle de Tucavaca, this latter area strongly recommended above for protection at national level.

3. The area around Rincón del Tigre, Germán Busch Province.

Rincón del Tigre lies about a hundred kilometres to the north of the railway and some fifty kilometres west of the Brazilian frontier and belongs to the municipality of Carmen Rivero Torres in Germán Busch Province. At the centre of the area is the small community of Rincón del Tigre, one of 70 Tierras Comunitarias de Origen (TCO) in Bolivia, where there is a small community of Chiquitano and Ayorea people. The TCO occupies 97.871 hectares and since 1999 has been part of the Area Natural de Manejo Integrado (ANMI) San Matías.

Until very recently the area around Rincón del Tigre was almost unknown botanically and we have not seen any collections from the zone in the Herbario del Oriente Boliviano (USZ). However, as part of the Darwin project several visits have been made to assess the cerrados in this area and collect representative specimens. Although there are extensive areas of cerrado in the region, it appears that the rare and endemic species are restricted to an area of about 30 kilometres that lies to the south of the community.

The scenery in this zone is one mainly of undulating hills less than 500m in height with a mosaic of different habitats, dry forest being mixed with chaco elements and various kinds of cerradão including areas of campo humedo near the community. Three habitats are outstanding. The first is a classic formation of campo cerradão in transition with cerradão on pre-cambrian sandstone rock about 10 kilometres south of the community of Rincon del Tigre. The second, which lies immediately south of the community, is a very distinctive cerrado formation on compacted, sticky dark soil. The third is a kind of open woodland on rock slabs which is seasonally moist from slow-moving running water, a formation apparently unique to this zone. Although these two latter formations have a very different physiognomy they actually share a large number of the more interesting rare and endemic species.

A good part of this interesting zone belongs to the Área de Manejo Integrado de San Matías but the part with the rock slabs lying some 30 kilometres south of Rincon del Tigre is without legal protection. There are no immediate threats at the present time but there is long term danger. There is nickel mining activity in the region as well as proposals to widen the access road. Although road improvement will benefit the community, it will open the region to colonization with negative results for the indigenous communities. Road widening will also raise the threat to biodiversity by opening the door to invasive species, colonisation and mining. It is recommended that SERNAP through the director of the ANMI San Matías seeks the support of the local communities to extend the boundaries of the protected area to “La Puerta”, some 30 kilometres south of Rincon del Tigre. It is also suggested that in collaboration with the leaders of the TCO they raise awareness of the rich biodiversity of the region agreeing regulations to monitor and protect it.

  • New undescribed species endemic to the zone:

Acanthaceae: Stenandrium sp. nov.
Bromeliaceae: Dyckia sp.nov.
Euphorbiaceae: Manihot sp. nov.1, Manihot sp. nov. 2
Iridaceae: Cypella sp. nov.
Leguminosae: Arachis sp. nov. 1, Arachis sp. nov, 2, Mimosa nuda var. nov.
Oxalidaceae: Oxalis sp.nov.

  • Species endemic to Bolivia present in the zone but not restricted to it. Asteraceae: Aspilia cardenasii

Cactaceae: Discocactus boliviensis
Poaceae: Sporobolus crucensis

  • New records for Bolivia: Calliandra longipes, Cardiospermum pterocarpum, Lepidagathis floribunda, Viguiera corumbensis.
  • Rare plants which are present include Ipomoea hirsutissima (also at Santiago de Chiquitos and PNNKM), Mimosa chacoensis (Limoncito and the Chaco), Stillingia salpingadenia (also at Santiago) and Psidium myrsinites (probably now extinct at San Miguel de Velasco).                                                                                                  

4. La serranía de Huanchaca and its surroundings

The serranía de Huanchaca including both the mountain slopes and the meseta de Caparuch is home to the most extensive and most untouched cerrados in all eastern Bolivia.  It contains campo cerrado, campo sujo, enormous areas of campo húmedo, campo rupestre, gallery forest and large streams. In addition there are cerrados y pampas inundadas near El Refugio and Los Fierros to the south west as well as around Flor del Oro in the north. Without doubt the serrania de Huanchaca contains  the most important cerrados in Bolivia because of  their excellent state of conservation but the level of plant endemism of the meseta and its surroundings is lower than that of the mountains of Roboré.

  • Plants endemic to the serranía de Huanchaca and its surroundings (23):

Asteraceae: Calea nematophylla,
Bromeliaceae: Bromelia ignaciana, Fosterella vazquezii
Eriocaulaceae: Eriocaulon huanchacum
Euphorbiaceae: Manihot sp. nov.
Lamiaceae: Hyptis sp nov 1, Hyptis sp nov 2, Hyptis sp. nov. 3
Leguminosae: Mimosa huanchacae, Mimosa suberosa, Mimosa sp. nov. 3, Mimosa sp. nov. 4
Loranthaceae: Psittacanthus kempfii
Lythraceae: Cuphea luteola, Diplusodon bolivianus, Diplusodon virgatus subsp. occidentalis
Melastomataceae: Acisanthera leptalea
Myrtaceae: Myrcia sp. nov. 1, Myrcia sp. nov. 2, Psidium sp. nov.
Poaceae: Paspalum sp. nov. 4
Xyridaceae: Xyris guillenii, Xyris subasperula

  • Other Bolivian endemic species present (5)

Aristolochiaceae: Aristolochia sp. nov.
Asteraceae: Vernonia sp. nov. 3
Convolvulaceae: Jacquemontia sp. nov.
Malvaceae: Hibiscus conceptionis
Pteridophyta:  Selaginella arroyana

There is, thus, a total of 28 Bolivian endemics in this region. Although this total is only 50% of the Lumber in the serranías de Robore, there is a very high number of at least 117 other species which are only known in Bolivia from the cerrados of the Serranía de Huanchaca and its surroundings although they also occur in Brazil.  

  • Plant species restricted to this zone in Bolivia but not endemic (117)

Acanthura mattogrossensis, Justicia asclepidea y Justicia nodicaulis (Acanthaceae), Adiantum dawsonii (Adiantaceae), Mandevilla illustris, Mandevilla rugosa, Mandevilla scabra, Ditassa taxifolia y Nephradenia linearis (Apocynaceae) Gomphrena lanigera (Amaranthaceae), Aspilia leucoglossa, Chresta exsucca, Dasyphyllum candolleanum, Dasyphyllum velutinum, Dimerstemma brasilianum, Eremanthus mattogrossensis, Eremanthus rondonensis, Gochnatia pulcra, Praxeliopsis mattogrossensis, Stilpnopappus speciosus, Stomatanthus trigonus, Vernonia laevigata, Vernonia ligulifolia (Asteraceae), Jacaranda decurrens, Zeyheria montana (Bignoniaceae), Couepia grandiflora, Licania humilis, Parinari obtusifolia (Chrysobalanaceae), Clusia lopezii, Clusia sellowiana (Clusiaceae), Rourea induta (Connaraceae), Evolvulus canescens, Evolvulus lithospermoidesIpomoea procumbens, Ipomoea schomburgkii, Jacquemontia cephalanthera (Convolvulaceae), Bulbostylis emmerichiae, Rhynchospora cajennensis, Rhynchospora filiformis, Rhynchospora  tenella, Scleria cerradicola, Scleria cuyabensis (Cyperaceae),Eriocaulon stramineum, Syngonanthus davidsei, Syngonanthus inundatus, Syngonanthus spongiosus (Eriocaulaceae), Euphorbia gymnoclada (Euphorbiaceae),  Casaeria grandiflora (Flacoutiaceae), Deianira erubescens (Gentianaceae), Hypenia macrosiphon, Hyptidendron glutinosumHyptis ovalifolia (Lamiaceae), Acosmium dasycarpum, Aeschynomene oroboides, Chamaecrista didyma, Chamaecrista fagonoides, Clitoria densiflora, Dalbergia discolobium, Galactia dimorpha, Harpalyce brasiliana, Indigofera bongardiana, Mimosa polisépala, Senna hilariana, Tephrosia nitens (Leguminosae), Utricularia meyeri, Utricularia myriocista (Lentibulariaceae), Cuphea antisyphilitica, Cuphea myrtifolia, Cuphea polymorpha, Cuphea spermacoce, Cuphea tenuisima, (Lythraceae),Byrsonima grisebachiana, Christianella surinamensis, Lophopterys insana, Tetrapterys jussieuana (Malpighiaceae), Hibiscus ferreirae, Pavonia rosa-campestris, Pavonia windischii (Malvaceae), Acisanthera bivalvis, Henrietella ovata, Mouriria glazioviana, Poteranthera pusilla, Rhynchanthe gardneri (Melastomataceae), Cybianthus detergens, Cybianthes penduliflorus, Cybianthes schlimii ( Myrsinaceae),  Eugenia angustissima, Eugenia gemmiflora, Eugenia klotzschiana, Myrcia dasyblasta y Myrcia pinifolia (Myrtaceae), Sauvagesia ramosissima (Ochnaceae), Cyrtopodium paranense, Galeandra baueri, Galeandra junceaoides, Mormodes elegans (Orchidaceae), Oxalis pyrenea (Oxalidaceae), Ctenium brevispicatum, Elionurus planifolius, Gymnopogon foliosus, Ichnanthus mollis, Panicum ligulare, Paspalum approximatum, Paspalum multinervium, Paspalum pumilum (Poaceae), Polygala herbiola (Polygalaceae), Borreria wunschmannii, Declieuxia verticillata. Galianthe kempffiana, Rudgea longiflora (Rubiaceae), Esdenbeckia pumila Rutaceae), Bacopa reptans (Scrophulariaceae), Picramnia elliptica (Simaroubaceae), Byttneria oblongata (Sterculiaceae), Vellozia sellowii (Velloziaceae), Casellia rosularis, Lippia rotundifolia (Verbenaceae).

  • There is also an interesting group of cerrado plants known in Bolivia only from the mountains at Roboré and Huanchaca: Andira vermifuga, Anemia buniifolia, Anemia elegans, Anemia lanuginosa, Dyckia gracilis, Elaphoglossum plumosum, Phlebodium pseudoaureum, Ctenium chapadense, Rhynchospora nardifolia, Rhynchospora terminalis, Utricularia neottioides, Barjonia laxa, Declieuxia cordigera, Polygala hirsuta, Ipomoea echioides, Minara cordata y Hemipogon acerosus.

All these cerrados that lie within the Noel Kempff National Park count on legal protection backed by a team of park guards. In addition the meseta is very difficult of access and there are no human settlements. What is needed is a detailed study with adequate financial support to provide a complete catalogue of plant diversity in the Park. This is a research priority.

5. Cerro Mutún

This mountain of almost 900 m is situated on the frontier with Brazil. It is isolated from other mountains in Bolivia. The vegetation consists of Bosque Seco Chiquitano with isolated rock platforms on the lower slopes gradually passing through cerradão to campo cerrado and campo sujo on the higher slopes. There is no campo húmedo and the soil is stony with a high iron content; the cerrados are drier than most others.

The only plant occurring here known to us which is endemic to Bolivia is Sporobolus crucensis, a record of lesser importance because it grows in several other places. Nevertheless Cerro Mutún is of importance for its plant diversity because of the presence of eight species which are not known elsewhere in Bolivia. These are Discocactus ferricola, Vernonia onopordioides, Manihot violacea, Hypenia reticulata, Dalechampia reticulata, Tabebuia chrysotricha, Macroptilium martii and Galactia marginalis, the Discocactus and the Bulbostylis being rare worldwide. There are at least four species (Viguiera squalida, Stylosanthes bracteata, Asclepias candida, Peltaea edouardii) that are only known in Bolivia here and in the serranías of Robore and one species, Dalechampia brevipes, known in Bolivia only on Cerro Mutún and at Las Gamas in the Noel Kempff Mercado National Park.

Cerro Mutún is under immediate threat because of the mining concession to extract iron from this mountain. There is a considerable risk that the eight species only recorded from this peak in Bolivia will disappear unless an agreement is reached with the mining company to protect specific parts of the mountain. It is recommended that the DGB and other authorities negotiate with the company Jindal Steel to create a small nature reserve around the summit of Cerro Mutún where the majority of these species grow.

  1. Scattered cerrados of Ňuflo de Chávez and Velasco

The cerrados of these two provinces are under threat principally because of clearance and replacement of the natural vegetation with exotic grasses. These are not, however, the only threats – other significant threats include the construction of small dams and drainage of wetlands and diversion of streams. All these threats are imminent and habitat change is happening rapidly. It is quite possible that the cerrados in this area will disappear during the next twenty years and only small isolated patches with low plant diversity will remain. It is recommended that municipalities in the region collaborate with interested groups, such as the FCBC,  to explain the dangers to landowners and seek their cooperation in keeping at least some cerrados under traditional management, ideally signing agreements to formalise these undertakings. Basically conservation in this zone will depend on the initiative of individuals and it is recommended that the DGB encourages the establishment of local, community, municipal or private reserves in key areas. The problem of invasive species is more insidious and at the moment we are unable to suggest effective solutions. One result of this situation is that the majority of the plants included in the Red Data Book of Threatened Species from the cerrados of the Chiquitania are from this zone.

These cerrados are home to a good number of rare and endemic species:

  • Species endemic to Bolivia

Convolvulaceae: Jacquemontia sp. nov.
Euphorbiaceae: Manihot sp. nov.
Leguminosae: Mimosa sp. nov.
Malvaceae: Hibiscus conceptionis, Pavonia sp. nov. 1, Sida sp. nov 1.
Myrtaceae: Eugenia sp. nov., Myrcia sp. nov.
Poaceae: Paspalum kempfii, Eriochrysis concepcionis, Andropogon crucianus, Otachyrium boliviense

  • Nationally rare species:

Acanthaceae: Dyschoriste trichanthera, Justicia phyllocalyx
Asteraceae: Campuloclinium burchelii, Trixis spicata
Aristolochiaceae: Aritolochia urupaensis
Asclepiadaceae: Matelea diversifolia, Matelea lanosa
Apocynaceae: Aspidosperma nobile, Mandevilla spigeliiflora
Bromeliaceae: Bromelia villosa
Commelinaceae: Murdannia schomburgkiana
Iridaceae: Cipura formosa
Lamiaceae: Hyptis eriophylla
Leguminosae: Bauhinia gardneri, Enterolobium gummiferum, Macroptilium monophyllum, Periandra heterophylla, Stryphnodendron fissuratum.
Myrtaceae: Psidium fruticosum, Psidium myrsinitis.
Scrophulariaceae: Basistemon pulchellus
Turneraceae: Turnera dasytricha
Verbenaceae: Stachytarpheta gesneroides

A particular difficulty for conservation efforts is that the important plants are not located in one or two specific localities but are scattered over the cerrados of these two provinces. Nevertheless some more diverse and interesting cerrados can be identified including the area around the town of Concepción, the area along the first 30 kilometres of the road from Santa Rosa de la Roca towards Piso Firme and the area around the community of San Juan Bautista, some 30 km west of San Ignacio. These three localities have much in common in landscape, soils and habitat mix besides the composition of their flora and the nature of the threats they are facing. There are good examples of campo humedo in all three places. All three are priorities for local conservation initiatives.  

7. The granite domes and platforms of Ňuflo de Chávez and Velasco

There are scattered granite rock outcrops throughout Velasco and Ňuflo de Chávez appearing as rock domes or platforms. They have a characteristic vegetation although each one is subtly different from the next. They are most frequent in Lomerío, where they form isolated peaks, but they are not restricted to this region. Although visible from a considerable distance, these peaks are often difficult of access and need further investigation to catalogue their plants. One of these rock domes, El Encanto, is a municipal reserve under the town of Concepción but the most interesting is near the community of El Cerrito in Lomerío.

In general the rock platforms and domes enjoy a degree of natural protection as they are difficult to exploit in any way. However, we have observed the destruction of natural vegetation surrounding some of these rock outcrops and it is important that effective measures are taken to avoid degradation of this habitat. The principal measure required is the agreement of the community in which the outcrop is situated not to exploit the rock or damage the surrounding vegetation. The Municipal Reserve of “El Encanto” is a large-scale model of what is necessary to conserve other rock platforms and domes.

The rock platforms and domes of the Lomerío region are probably the most interesting because they are home to various endemic species (Chamaecrista chiquitensis, Vigna subhastata), some unidentified and possibly new species of Eugenia, Zephyranthes, Selaginella and Aeschynomene and a good number of rare species including Thrasya crucensis (almost restricted worldwide to Lomerío), Ipomoea rosea, Macroptilium sabaraense, Clitoria falcata, Mimosa tobatiensis and Paspalum burchellii).

It is important to emphasize that the floristic composition of each rock outcrop is different from others in subtle ways. The outcrops in Velasco Province have their own charm and their own group of interesting species. There are good examples to the west of San José Campamento, between San Rafael and San Miguel and at km 69 and km 160 on the road from Santa Rosa de la Roca to Piso Firme. Among endemic species present are Vigna subhastata together with new species of Borreria, Waltheria, Paspalum y Lutzelbergia. There are also nationally rare species present especially at Cerro Pelao (km 160 on the road to Piso Firme) where grow Vellozia tubiflora, Polygala glochidiata, Neocuatrecasasana tysonii, Chromolaena porophylloides, Trixis cerroleonensis, Soemmeringia semperflorens, Utricularia nervosa and Adiantum lanulatum among others.