Madidi NP-IMNA occupies the entire northeastern corner of the La Paz department, against the Peruvian border. It is bordered by four other protected areas and an indigenous territory. It is one of Bolivia’s flagship parks, and with a surface of no less than 1,880,996 ha, one of the key components of the Vilcabamba-Amboró Conservation Corridor (VACC), considered the most biologically diverse hotspot on the planet.
The park’s high latitudinal range and rugged topography ensures a large variety of habitats, with 1,875 plant described to date out of an estimated total of 5,000. This is matched by an exceptional animal diversity composed of at least 1,370 vertebrate species, including 156 mammal, 867 bird, between 192 and 296 fish, between 79 and 109 reptile, and between 84 and 88 amphibian species (more than 30 of which are endemic to the protected area). In fact, Madidi NP-IMNA could be the most biodiverse protected area in the world.
The major structural and functional threat to Madidi NP-IMNA is the construction of roads in the area, in particular the project to open a road across the IMNA between the towns of Apolo and Ixiamas. This would make the entire park extremely vulnerable to colonization and resource extraction processes, which are already exerting heavy pressures on the park in two main areas (referred to as Apolo and Ixiamas colonization zones in this report). Illegal logging, hunting and fishing are also creating problems in the most accessible areas, and the recent rise in visitor numbers without a concurrent increase in staffing has led to a rather chaotic situation with respect to touristic activities. Given the magnitude of the threats implied by the construction of the Apolo-Ixiamas road, Madidi NP-IMNA is considered threatened, and urgent solutions are needed to ensure its long-term viability and and the protection of its outstanding biological diversity.