Tourism suporting conservation

The northern part of the department of La Paz was once one of the worlds´ richest reserves of mahogany and many other precious woods. Pressure from lumber companies meant that a road was constructed in the 1980’s. In no time, millions of feet of mahogany were being extracted weekly.

Nobody knows how much mahogany and other fine woods were removed, as most of it left the country by contraband, benefiting only a handful of people. There was no reforestation or investment made in the area from the proceeds and in most of the companies, the meat provided for the employees was obtained through hunting.

This impoverished the area to the extreme, including the local population, mostly Amazonian indigenous people, who had relied on hunting for their survival for centuries. Initially, the local population accepted the entry of these companies as they thought employment would be provided, however, this did not happen, for the companies brought their own workers from other parts of the country claiming they had better experience.

In addition to the pillaging, the opening of the roads also brought about a huge migration of highland people to the area, people who had little or no experience of living in the rainforest.