Ancient Agropastoral System of the Bolivian Altiplano: a Robust Ecosystem Endangered from Changes in Land-use

  •  Sarah Jennifer D'Apollonia    
  •  Henrik Meilby    
  •  Marten Sørensen    


The current study examines the challenges and constraints faced by rural, small-herd, llama (Lama glama) agropastoralists of the Bolivian Altiplano. Three different study sites with various degrees of agropastoralism were examined in order to describe the relationship between quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) and llama production and the implications of land use competition between these two livelihoods. In order to document the impact of land use change, the study also examined the native forage species available to free grazing llamas and their relative importance. Llama pastoralists were interviewed and completed a survey on the perceived importance of native forage plants in grazing llama diets as well as the perceived constraints to llama husbandry. The relative frequency of citation (RFC) index was employed as a measure of relative importance of different native forage plant species. This data was supplemented with further primary data collected from the field using mixed methods involving participatory rural appraisal techniques (PRA), interviews and focus groups. Secondary data was collected from an in-depth literature review, government offices and other relevant institutions. The study presents a detailed list of all cited native forage species and their perceived importance as a forage crop and any ethnoveterinary uses. The results reveal that challenges and constraints can often be site-specific, and a lack of forage throughout the dry season (May to November) was a general constraint among study sites. Quinoa production was found to be in direct competition with llama husbandry, with many sites demonstrating s shift away from llama pastoralism.

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