Bolivia Starts Nationalizing Protected Areas

The government of Bolivian President Evo Morales has begun the process of nationalizing natural resource concessions that lie in zones controlled by the country's national protected areas service Sernap.

Initially, the reversion will include lands within the Madidi national park and nature reserve area in the north of La Paz department, Sernap press official Jose Antonio Coca told BNamericas.

The move aims to nationalize all natural areas that were granted as concessions to multinational companies for the exploitation of resources such as wood, gold and oil. "This is the beginning of a process of nationalization of the protected areas across the country," he added.

However, Coca stressed that the process is not directly linked to the nationalization of mining or hydrocarbons, which Morales announced in May.

"The current plan contemplates nationalization only of protected areas where there are reserves, geological [study] stations and national parks," he explained.

Bolivia has 20 protected areas. Apart from Madidi, other principal areas include national parks Aguarague, Carrasco, Cotapata, Cordillera de Sama biological reserve, Eduardo Avaroa national reserve, Beni biological station and Kaa Iya park.

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