Gap analysis of two savanna-type ecoregions: A two-scale floristic approach applied to the Llanos de Moxos and Beni Cerrado, Bolivia

Daniel M. Larrea-Alcázar, Ramiro Pablo López, Marlene Quintanilla, Aideé Vargas

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12 Scopus citations


The Beni savannas (locally referred to as pampas) is composed of two clearly differentiated ecoregions, the Llanos de Moxos (or Moxos) and the Beni Cerrado. Both tropical savannas are shaped to a greater (Moxos) or lesser (Beni Cerrado) by cycles of drought and flood and the labor of generation of farmers. It contains floristic elements of four biogeographic regions (Amazonian, Chaco, Cerrado and Chiquitana). However, in spite of their biological richness, they are little represented in the National System of Protected Areas (SNAP, in Spanish). By employing an ecoregion and sub-ecoregion approach, we examined the representation of both savanna-type ecoregions in the Departmental System of Protected Areas (SDAP, in Spanish), which includes national, departmental, municipal, and private protected areas. The study also enabled us to compare Bolivia's newest ecoregion/vegetation zones maps as applied to the both savannas and to produce a sub-ecoregion map for the Beni department (northeastern Bolivia). Our results show that the Llanos de Moxos and the Beni Cerrado are found in protected areas of departmental and municipal level. Although they are still under-represented (mainly the Beni Cerrado), they have nonetheless important extensions inside these protected areas. A better representation of these zones would guarantee improved levels of protection of these unique ecosystems. On the other hand, our study shows the importance of the conservation-representation target relationships (sensu Rodrigues et al. 2004). This is the first time that this approach is used to examine gaps of floristic representativeness of savanna-type ecoregions showing that the traditional 10% minimal conservation target should be used with caution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1769-1783
Number of pages15
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements Humberto Gómez and two anonymous reviewers made valuable comments and criticisms on early versions of this manuscript. The work was supported by funds provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza (FAN) (Grant 08-91570-000-GSS, Project: Linking socioeconomic and environments agenda to conserve the Moxos Plains). This support is gratefully acknowledged.


  • Beni
  • Ecoregion
  • Minimal representation target
  • Sub-ecoregion
  • Tropical savannas


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