Exploring Bolivia's Biodiversity main content.

Exploring Bolivia's Biodiversity

Part of Hall of South American Peoples.

Bolivia's diversity of animal and plant life is among the greatest in the world.

The country's location in the tropics combined with dramatic variations in topography and climate result in a wide range of ecosystems—from the spectacular mountain landscapes of the Andes to the dense rainforests of the Amazon to the unusual dry forests of the Chaco. Bolivia has designated more than 17 percent of its land as protected areas. 

More than half of Bolivia's 8.7 million people are indigenous—descendants of those who lived there long before Spanish explorers arrived. The dozens of ethnic groups in Bolivia have adapted to the country's diverse landscapes and natural resources, and many continue traditions of weaving textiles and building homes from natural materials. While poverty in rural areas has fueled an ongoing migration to cities, many Bolivians still live a rural life, farming or raising livestock. Bolivians also play a key role in protecting biodiversity—more than 1.5 million live in or near the country's protected areas.

The Mancornadas LagoonsBolivia is best known for its mountains, but nearly two-thirds of the country consists of lowland forests, wetlands and grasslands.