Bolivia: Introduction

Submitted by The Catt-Trax2 Team on Thu, 2006/12/21 - 2:22pm.

Report prepared by Krystal Brennan and Jen Sarchuk, students in BCIT’s Fish, Wildlife and Recreation Program


Bolivia is in Central South America and borders Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Paraguay. Bolivia is 1,084,490 km2 in size with elevations ranging from 90 to 6,542 m. Natural resources in Bolivia include tin, natural gas, petroleum, zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, iron, lead, gold, timber, and hydropower. The land use in Bolivia is: 2.78% arable land, 0.19% permanent crops and 97.03% other, which includes meadows, pastures, forests, woodlands, and roads.


The population of Bolivia is over 9 million with 8.4 people per km2. Compare this with Canada whose population is over 33 million, with only 3.2 people per km2. Bolivia has the largest number of aboriginal people in South America with 30% Quechua, 25% Aymara, 30% Mestizo (mixed Caucasian and Amerindian ancestry), and only 15% Caucasian. Their official languages are Spanish, Aymara, and Quechua.


Bolivia is a poor, developing country, which depends on aid from other countries. Canada provides Bolivia with over $ 20 million per year for health, water, and a state modernization program. This is one of Canada’s largest aid programs in South America. In 2005, statistics show that 64% of Bolivians are below the poverty line. Surprisingly, considering its poorness, Bolivia is rich in natural resources.

Most of Bolivia’s trade is with Brazil. The main exports are: natural gas, soybeans and soy products, crude petroleum, zinc ore, tin. And the imports into Bolivia are: petroleum products, plastics, paper, aircraft and aircraft parts, prepared foods, automobiles, insecticides, soybeans. Trade between Canada and Bolivia is low — $35 million annually (2004).

The illegal production of coca provides a lot of work for poor people and brings a lot of money into the economy. Bolivia is the third largest producer of the coca leaf, behind Peru and Columbia. Unfortunately, coca production and harvesting cause deforestation, soil erosion, involves heavy pesticide use, and deposits chemicals in streams.

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