Utilizing an untapped resource: Manure use in the Bolivian Altiplano as a means to increase overall production
Type of Document:
Conference Proceeding or Document
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Summary: Bolivia is a landlocked country located in west central South America along the Andes Mountain chain. The country is approximately 1.1 million sq/km (about 3 times the size of Montana) and has a population of just fewer than 9 million people (CIA fact book). The majority of Bolivia’s population resides in the urban areas in and surrounding the countries two largest cities, Santa Cruz, and the capital La Paz; with the remainder of the population residing in rural areas. Geographically the regions in Bolivia vary greatly in altitude, climate, and ecosystems ranging from the steep slopes and plateaus of the Andes Mountains the lowlands of the Amazon basin.
Among the slopes of the Andes mountains nestled on a plain between the East and West range lies the Altoplano; A region unique in climate, season, and altitude which has over the centuries been cultivated with varying success by the native population. The study of this mostly isolated population of people and their agricultural techniques provides insights from which we can learn. Throughout this paper I will focus on the ability of farmers in this region to adapt to increasing economic pressure, climate change, environmental concerns, and the overall rugged conditions of the Altiplano. I will also attempt to illustrate the ways in which the Altiplano farmer has historically managed these problems and present relatively new methods and ideas that could possibly help manage various problems, including the use of manure as a fertilizer source, rotational grazing, and increasing current crop production/family income.