In this portion of the path, you will find this beautiful cactus welcoming the visitors to a transition zone from Chiquitano to Chaqueño forest. This unique composition of diverse and extremely rich vegetation is part of the Regional Park Lomas de Arena (PRLA).
The PRLA is a regional protected area in the department of Santa Cruz that is located just 12 kilometers away from the department’s capital city, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, in eastern lowland Bolivia (altitude c. 410 m) (Asociacion Armonia, 2009). Created in 1990 to protect a spectacular series of sand dunes (lomas de arena in Spanish), the 32.915 acres park also includes important areas of native savanna and forest that provide habitat for a rich diversity of animals (Asociacion Armonia, 2009).
Of the 259 bird species recorded in the area, approximately 180 are migratory birds from South and North America (shorebirds like the Easter kingbird) (Asociacion Armonia, 2009). The park receives approximately 2.000 monthly visitors, which mainly are local residents who want to spend a family weekend and 4-wheel motorcycle enthusiasts (Asociacion Armonia, 2009). While the main attractions are the enormous sand dunes that move up to 40 meters per year, and several lakes with a total surface of 37 acres, the diversity of birds and other fauna along with great scenic beauty make PRLA an excellent place for bird-watching and eco-tourism (Asociacion Armonia, 2009).
The orange polygon represents the area of the regional park. The upper-right yellow polygon represents the surface where our partner, the agro-ecological farm CEASIP, conducts its research and agricultural extension activities. The other yellow polygon on the left is the CEASIP’s property named “Los Troncos”. All this area is blessed with an abundant biodiversity around refreshing lakes and exotic sand dunes.
Inside the Lomas de Arena regional park, the agro-ecological farm CEASIP has a property of ~260 ha called Los Troncos. Several years go, inside Los Troncos existed an eco-touristic path that was no longer used. Recently, in an exemplary effort in March (11th – 13th) 2014, the Gaia Pacha foundation, the CEASIP, and members of the State Office for Protected Areas (Dirección de Áreas Protegidas – DIAP) designed and re-open the eco-touristic circuit in Los Troncos (See pictures below). This trail of ~2,6 km leads the visitors to a series of Chaqueño and Chiquitano landscapes. The CEASIP and the DIAP will use this path to reinforce their eco-tourism strategies, and Gaia Pacha will be able to implement in this place the Earthkeepers Training Center.
The orange line is the path from the CEASIP to Los Troncos. The yellow polyline represents the circuit of ~2,6 km where the eco-tourism activities will be organized by the CEASIP and DIAP, and it is also the place where the Earthkeepers sessions will take place. A tour of the trail will take the visitors to different beautiful landscapes including sightseeing of the sand dunes.
A view to the sand dunes from the trail.
Gaia Pacha members and volunteers collaborating to re-open the eco-tourism trail in Los Troncos.
Members of DIAP, CEASIP, and Gaia Pacha working together to rehabilitate the ecological trail. The work was done from March the 11th to the 13th.
A place where the biodiversity is so evident.
If you want to see more pictures of this beautiful place, please access to our Photo Album on Flickr through this link: