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República de Bolivia


Area: 1,098,581 square kilometers (ca. the combined area of Texas and California). Fifth largest country in South America.


Geography and Vegetation: The southwestern portion of the country consists of parallel cordilleras and elevated plateau. The region is divided by two north-south cordilleras (Occidental and Oriental) with the arid and expansive Altiplano plateau lying between (ca. 805 kilometers long and 129 kilometers wide). The eastern and northeastern portion of Bolivia, the Oriente, is primarily lowlands, mostly below 500 m (lowest point - Río Paraguay at 90 m elevation). The principle lowland vegetation contains both forest and grasslands. In general humidity and moisture decreases from north to south. Amazonian forest in the north gives way to semideciduous Chiquitano and Chaco forest in the south. Both open Cerrados and Sabanas are also present in the central portion. The highlands, in the southwest, occupy slightly more than a third of Bolivia. The vegetation of these highlands ranges from dry to wet grassland to wet and dry forest. Montane forest extend from Peru’s cordillera oriental and cut diagonally in a narrow band to the southeast about midway through the country, and then are replaced by Tucumano-Boliviana forest that turns sharply south and extend into the northwest of Argentina. Dry forest borders the Tucumano-Boliviana forest on either side, with Chaco Serrano forest on the east, and dry interandean valleys between the isolated ranges. Humid puna, similar if not equal to páramo of the northern Andes, borders the montane forest to the southeast, and dry puna extends further south.



Vascular Plant Diversity: 14,387 species, 2,507 genera, 241 families (Jørgensen et al. 2011). Checklist in preparation.


Bryophyte Diversity: 1424 species. Hepatics 482, Hornworts 4, Mosses: 942 species.


Generic Endemism: Six monospecific genera are endemic to Bolivia.


  • Flabellidium Herzog - Brachytheciaceae: F. spinosum Herzog described in 1916 by Herzog, is only known from the type locality, Tres Cruces (Department of Santa Cruz). Growing on base of tree, probably in Tucumano-Boliviano forest at an elevation of ca. 1400 m. Most of Tres Cruces area has been severally cut over, replaced by shrubby, in part thorn, forest.
  • Koponenia Ochyra - Amblystegiaceae: K. holoneuron (Herzog) Ochyra was collected by Herzog and described by him in 1916 as Sciaromium. Koponenia was collected in the region of Quimzacruz, Department of La Paz. Associated with puna vegetation, apparently aquatic, growing on rocks at an elvation of 4600 m.
  • Mandoniella Herzog - Brachytheciaceae: M. spicatinervia (R.S. Williams) Herzog was collected by R. S. Williams in 1902 near Pelechuco, Department of La Paz, at an elevation of 3350 m. Apparently only known from the type, this species is found on trees, possibly in semidry high montane forest.
  • Polymerodon Herzog - Dicranaceae: P. andinus Herzog was originally collected in 1908, in the valley of Llave in the Department of Cochabamba at an elevation of 3600 m. This species is now recorded at elevations from 3600-4620 m, on soil and soil covered rocks in wet sites in the humid puna.
  • Schroeterella Herzog - Sematophyllaceae: S. zygodonta Herzog is only known from humid montane of the Río Tocorani valley, Department of Cochabamba. Schroeterella is an epiphyte, found growing on a liana at 2200 m growing with Leskeodon andicola.
  • Streptotrichum Herzog - Pottiaceae: S. ramicolum Herzog is an epiphyte, found on the nodes of bamboo in montane cloud forest at elevations from 3140-3400 m in the departments of Cochabamba and La Paz.


Species Endenism: Estimated number of endemic mossesfor Bolivia is 53 species.


Floristic Coverage: Moderately well in the montane (yuñgas) forest associated with the regions of Cochabamba, La Paz, and Santa Cruz (corridor). The central and southern Tucumano-Boliviano montane forests have just recently been inventoried. The dry interandian valleys are well sampled in Santa Cruz, but not in Chuquisaca, Cochabamba or Tarija. The lowlands of eastern Bolivia (in particular the Amazonian and Chiquitano forest) and vast portions of the Altiplano have received little attention.


TROPICOS: 26,000+ bryophytes.


Infrastructure: Herbaria include:

  • BOLV (Herbario Nacional Forestal Martín Cárdenas, Cochabamba; established: 1975). No bryophyte specimens prior to 2001, at present 1500-2000. Note: The Martín Cárdenas herbarium transferred to LIL in 1973, a few bryophytes among the 6500 Cárdenas collections.
  • HSB (Herbario Chuquisaca, Universidad Mayor Real y Pontifícia de San Francisco Xavier de Chuquisaca, Sucre; established: 1998). No bryophyte specimens prior to 2001, at present 1500+.
  • LPB (Herbario Nacional de Bolivia, La Paz; established: 1984), LPB contains the Marko Lewis collections among others, and is the largest bryophyte herbarium in Bolivia. There are 19,812 bryophyte collections LPB (as of 11 November 2008). About 70% of the Lewis collection are not named to species.
  • USZ (Herbario del Oriente Boliviano, Museo de Historia Natural Noel Kempff Mercado, Universidad Autónoma Gabriel René Moreno, Santa Cruz; established: 1986). Santa Cruz has (as of Sept 2008) 7341 collections of bryophytes (1173 hepatics, 6168 mosses); prior to 2001 USZ had several hundred, mostly unnamed, collections.


Collectors: Alcides C. V. M. d’Orbigny (?1830-1833), Gilbert Mandon (1856-1860), Paul G. Lorentz (1873), Henry H. Rusby (1885-1886), Filiberto Germain (Jun 1889), Pierre Jay (ca. 1893), Robert S. Williams (Aug 1901-Sep 1902), Theodor Herzog (May 1907-Mar 1908, 1910-1911). Additional collectors included among others - Félix Jaffuel, Carl Troll, Fredrick J. Hermann, William D. Reese, Marshall R. Crosby, James Solomon, Marko Lewis, Alfredo Fuentes C., Israel G. Vargas C., Steven Churchill. Recent Bolivian collectors include: Claudia Aldana, Marco Decker, Ivan Linneo, Fabiana Mogro, Reinaldo Lozano, Ninel Sanjines A. The two most important collectors have been Theodor Herzog, and later, Marko Lewis (1979-1991). Approximately 105 Bolivian bryophyte collectors are known.


Floristic and Ecological Moss Literature for Bolivia


  • Acebey, A., S. R. Gradstein & T. Krömer. 2003. Species richness and habitat diversification of bryophytes in submontane rain forest and fallows of Bolivia. J. Trop. Ecol. 19: 9-18. [Serranía Marimonos, Department of La Paz, 500-650 m, 80 corticolous bryophytes listed: 48 liverworts, 32 mosses.]
  • Britton, E. G. 1896. An enumeration of the plants collected by H. H. Rusby in Bolivia, 1885-1886. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 23: 471-499. [88 species listed, 41 as new species; attributing authorship to Müller and Schimper, few by Britton.]
  • Brumfield, R.T. & O. Maillard Z. 2007. Birds of the central Rio Paracti valley, a humid montane forest in Departamento Cochabamba, Bolivia. Ornitologia Neotropical 18: 321-337. [4 hepatics and 6 mosses were found, covering 70% of a Rhynchocyclus fulvipectus nest; identified by S. Churchill.]
  • Brotherus, V. F. 1913. Musci frondosi. Pages 174-179. In: J. Perkins (ed.), Beiträge zur Flora von Bolivia. Botanische Jahrbücher für systematik, Pflanzengeschichte und Pflanzengeographie 49: 170-233. [20 species listed, 12 as new species.]
  • Brotherus, V. F. 1917. Contributions a la flore bryologique de l'Argentine. Ark. Bot. 15: 1-15. [Enumerates the collections made by R. E. Fries in 1901-1902 in northwest Argentina: 41 species listed, 13 as new species; and Bolivia: 10 species listed, one as a new species.]
  • Cano, M.J., J.A. Jiménez, S.P. Churchill & J. Guerra. 2008. New records of Pottiaceae (Bryophyta) for South America. Cryptogamie, Bryologie. 29: 139-147. [9 new records for Bolivia.]
  • Churchill, S. P. 2003. Briófitas. Pages 96-100, In: P. L. Ibisch & G. Mérida (eds.). Biodiversidad: La Riqueza de Bolivia. Editorial FAN, Santa Cruz.
  • Churchill, S. P. 2004. Bryophytes. Pages 94-97, In: P. L. Ibisch & G. Mérida (eds.). Biodiversity: The Richness of Bolivia. Editorial FAN, Santa Cruz.
  • Churchill, S. 2007. Bryological activities in Bolivia. Bryological Times 123: 18-20.
  • Churchill, S. P. & A. Fuentes C. 2004. Inventario preliminar de los musgos de Pampagrande. Pages 105-109. In: H. Azurduy F., J. L. Aramayo B., J. Ledezma A. & Andrés Langer (eds.). Historia Natural del Municipio de Pampagrande. Museo de Historia Natural Noel Kempff Mercado. Santa Cruz. [Department of Santa Cruz, Province Florida: 58 species listed, distributed among 48 genera and 32 families.]
  • Churchill, S.P. & A. Fuentes C. 2005. Additions, combinations, and synonyms for the Bolivian moss flora. Trop. Bryol. 26: 119-132. [55 additional record, 3 new combinations, and 5 new synonyms for Bolivia.]
  • Churchill, S.P., N.N. Sanjines A., A. Fuentes C. & R. Lozano. 2008. Additions to the Bolivian bryophyte flora. Tropical Bryology 29: 54-59.
  • Decker, M. 2004. Composición y diversidad de comunidades de musgos en tres localidades de la Siberia (Santa Cruz-Bolivia). Tesis Licenciatura. Universidad Mayor de San Simón, Cochabamba. 154 p.
  • Drehwald, U. 2003. Los bosques de Amboró: cambios en la biodiversidad y biomonitoreo. Pages 23-33. In: J. Blanes J. (compiler), Parque Nacional Amboró: Aproximación Multidisciplinaria a su Zona de Amortiguamiento. Ministerio de Desarrollo Sostenible, Proyecto dee Fortalecimento Institucional al MDS (BID 929). [Study included 29 hepatics and 32 mosses.]
  • Fuentes, A. & S. Churchill. 2005[2006]. Catálogo preliminar de las briófitas de la región de Madidi, Bolivia. Ecología en Bolivia. 40: 170-198. [505 species; hepatics: 135 species, 60 genera, 22 families, mosses: 369 species, 168 genera, 54 families.]
  • Fuentes, A. & J. Muñoz, 2002. Contribution to the bryoflora of Bolivia. I. Lowland mosses from two protected areas in the Department of Santa Cruz. J. Bryol. 24: 165-167. [40 species listed, 6 records new to country.]
  • Hermann, F. J. 1976. Recopilación de los Musgos de Bolivia. Bryologist 79: 125-171. [1222 species listed.]
  • Hermann, F. J. & H. Robinson. 1974. Additions to the bryophyte flora of Bolivia. Bryologist 77: 643-645. [12 hepatics, 14 mosses listed as new records for Bolivia.]
  • Herzog, T. 1910a[1909]. Beiträge zur Laubmoosflora von Bolivia. Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 26: 45-102. . [73 new moss species described, 2 new genera: Polymerodon, Wollnya; species list provided for Chiquitos (19 spp.), Rio Blanco (33), Santiago de Chiquitos (57 spp.), Cerro Amboró (500-1000 m: 32 spp., 1000-1250 m: 5 spp., 1250-1700 m: 13 spp.), Rio Paracti near Incacorral (2100-2800 m: 115 spp., 2900-3300 m: 44 spp., 3300-4000 m: 46 spp.).]
  • Herzog, T. 1910b. Weitere Beträge zur Laubmoosflora von Bolivia. Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 27: 348-358. [10 species, 1 variety described as new.]
  • Herzog, T. 1916. Die Bryophyten meiner zweiten Reise durch Bolivia. Biblioth. Bot. 87:1-347. [1193 bryophytes listed - 719 mosses and 474 hepatics; number of new taxa: mosses 271, hepatics 252; calculations based on a review by A.L. Andrews (1920. Bolivian bryophytes of Herzog’s second journey. Bryologist 23: 9-10.)]
  • Herzog, T. 1920. Die Bryophyten meiner zweiten Reise Durch Bolivia. Nachtrag. Bibl. Bot. 88: 1-31. [3 hepatic species listed, plus 7 new species described: 51 moss species listed, plus 24 new species and 7 new varieties described]
  • Herzog, T. 1927. Zwei Bryophytensammlungen aus Südamerika. Hedwigia 67: 249-268. [Bolivian collections made by O. Buchtien. 9 hepatic species listed with 2 new species; 42 mosses listed plus 7 new species, 5 new varieties, 1 new form]
  • Herzog, T. 1934. Die Bryophyten der Andenreisen von C. Troll (Bolivia, Colombia, Panama). Hedwigia 74: 79-114.
  • Herzog, T. 1942. Beiträge zur Kenntnis neotropischer Bryophyten. Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 61: 559-590. [Includes bryophytes, some new, from Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.]
  • Lewis, M. 1983. Bryophyte collecting in the Bolivian Andes. Bull., Field Mus. Nat. Hist. 54: 11-13.
  • Lewis, M. 1990a. The bryological exploration of Bolivia - Past and present. Bryol. Times 53: 1-5. [Discussion of bryophyte collectors in Bolivia, map showing localities.]
  • Lewis, M. 1990b. Authors of species reported from Bolivia: Hall of fame or infamy. Bryol. Times 55: 7.
  • Lewis, M. 1991. Musgos. Pages 123-149. In E. Forno & M. Baudoin (eds.), Historia Natural de un Valle en Los Andes: La Paz. Servicio Grfico Quipus, La Paz. [112 species and morpho-species listed, with keys and illustrations]
  • Lewis, M. 1992. Meteoridium and Zelometeorium in Bolivia. Trop. Bryol. 5: 35-53.
  • Lewis, M. Unpublished manuscript. Historia Natural de los Musgos de Bolivia: Marko en Musgolandia.
  • Lewis, M. & C. Tapia. 1990. História natural de Choquetanga. I. Exploraciones geográpficas y arqueológicas en las serranias de Lulini y Choquecamiri. Ecología en Bolivia 15: 25-55. [Mosses discussed on page 29.]
  • Lozano A., R. 2005. Aporte al conocimiento de la riqueza y composición de la flora de musgos del bosque Tucumano-Boliviano, comunidad de Nuevo Mundo: Provincia Belisario Boeto, Depto. de Chuquisaca. Universidad Mayor Real y Pontifícia de San Francisco Xavier de Chuquisaca, Sucre. Tesis Licenciatura. (i-viii) 74 p.
  • Maillard Z., O. & E. Caballero. 2003. Nidificación del Gallito de la Roca (Rupicola peruviana) en el valle de San Onofre, Cochabamba, Bolivia. Ornitologia Neotropical 14: 263-265. [3 mosses listed: Chryso-hypnum diminutivum. Neckeropsis disticha, Racopilum tomentosum; indentified by S. Churchill.]
  • McQueen, C. B. 1997. Niche diversification of Sphagnum in Bolivia. Trop. Bryol. 13: 65-73. [8 species of Sphagnum studied.]
  • Montagne. C. 1838. Centurie de plantes cellulaires exotiques nouvelles, Musci. Ann. Sci. Nat., Bot. 2, 9: 38-57.
  • Montagne, C. 1839. Musci, 86-116, pl. 3. Florula Boliviensis. Cryptogames de la Bolivia. In A. d'Orbigny, Voyage dans l'Amérique Méridionale. P. Bertrand, Paris. [28 species, 4 previously described as new (Montagne, 1838); of the 28, 12 are considered erroneous reports and excluded from Bolivia, e.g., Climacium dendroides (Hedw.) F. Weber & D. Mohr, Neckera pennata Hedw., Rhodobryum giganteum (Schwägr.) Paris.] View this in: Botanicus
  • Müller, C. 1897. Prodromus bryologiae bolivianae. Nuovo Giorn. Bot. Ital. 4: 5-50, 113-168. [216 species listed, 208 as new species. Based mainly on the collections by Germain, Mandon, Rusby, few collections also made by Bang and Lorentz.]
  • Reese, W. D. 1979. New records of Bolivian mosses. Phytologia 43: 337-338. [9 listed species, 5 new records for Bolivia.]
  • Roth, G. 1916. Nachtrag III. Zu Band I der aussereuropäischen Laubmoose von 1910/1911. Hedwigia 57: 257-262. [8 species of Andreaea originally described by Brotherus and Herzog redescribed by Roth.]
  • Sanjines A., N. N. 2004. Briofitos terrestres en el páramo yungueño del Cerro Hornuni – Cotapata: Especies y comunidades. Universidad Mayor San Andres, La Paz. Tesis Licenciatura. 82 p. [hepatics: 15 families, 20 genera, 56 species; mosses: 13 families, 15 genera, 23 species.]
  • Serrano, M., L. Arroyo Padilla & B. K. Holst. 1997. Appendix 1. Plant collections from the Río Urucuti Basin, south central Chuquisaca, Bolivia. Pages 43-61. In: T. S. Schulenberg & K. Awbrey (eds.), A rapid assessment of the humid forests of South Central Chuquisaca, Bolivia. RAP Working Papers 8. Conservation International. [16 mosses listed.]
  • Thériot, I. 1929. Mousses de Bolivie. Recoltees par le P. Felix Jaffuel. Revista Chilena Hist. Nat. 33: 135-141. [47 species listed, 12 as new species, 1 as new variety.]
  • Williams, R. S. 1903. Bolivian mosses, I. Bull. New York Bot. Gard. 3: 104-134. [128 species listed, 26 as new species; also 9 species listed for Peru, 4 as new species.]
  • Williams, R. S. 1910. Bolivian mosses, II. Bull. New York Bot. Gard. 6: 227-261. [188 species listed, 17 as new species; also 5 species listed for Peru, one as a new species.]
  • Williams, R. S. 1915. Mosses from the west coast of South America. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 42: 393-422. [Based on the collections of Rose & Rose, July-October 1914, from the countries of Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. Bolivia: 10 species; Chile: 9 species, 5 as new species; Peru: 26 species, 7 as new species.]


Background References Related to the Bolivian Flora and Vegetation


  • Beck, S. G., T. J. Killeen & E. García E. 1993. Vegetación de Bolivia. Pages 6-24. In: T. J. Killen, E. García E., S. G. Beck (eds.), Guía de Arboles de Bolivia. Quipus, La Paz.
  • Dorr, L. J. 1991. The vascular plant collections of R. S. Williams from Bolivia and Peru (1901-1902). Brittonia 43: 211-239. [Excellent account of Williams travels in Peru and Bolivia. Provides itinerary, localities, map, and photograph of Williams.]
  • Funk, V. A. & S. A. Mori. 1989. A bibliography of plant collectors in Bolivia. Smithsonian Contr. Bot. 70: 1-20. [A useful summary of the Bolivian plant collectors, particularly 19th and early 20th century.]
  • Herzog, T. 1923. Die Pflanzenwelt der bolivischen Anden und ihres östlichen Vorlandes. In A. Engler and D. Drude (eds.), Die Vegetation der Erde 15:1-259.
  • Ibisch, P. L. & G. Mérida (eds.). 2003. Biodiversidad: La Riqueza de Bolivia. Editorial FAN, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. [The most recent detailed account of the biodiversity and conservation for Bolivia. Excellent maps, photographs and discussions of the Bolivian vegetation. The English version given below.]
  • Ibisch, P. L. & G. Mérida (eds.). 2004. Biodiversity: The Richness of Bolivia. Editorial FAN, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.
  • Kessler, M. & S. G. Beck. 2001. Bolivia. Pages 581-622. In: M. Kappelle & A. D. Brown (eds.), Bosque Nublados del Neotrópico. Editorial INBio, Costa Rica.
  • Navarro, G. & W. Ferreira. 2004. Zonas de vegetación potencial de Bolivia: Una base para el análisis de vacíos de conservación. Revista Boliviana de Ecología y Conservación Ambiental 15: 1-40.
  • Navarro, G. & M. Maldonado. 2002. Geografía Ecológica de Bolivia: Vegetación y Ambientes Acuticos. Centro de Ecología Simón I. Patiño-Departamento de Difusión. Imprenta Sirena Color, Santa Cruz. xv, 719 pp. [A major study of the Bolivian vegetation, excellent illustrations and photographs.]
  • Nee, M. H. 2005. Flora de la Región del Parque Nacional Amboró. Vol. 2: Magnoliidae, Hamamelidae y Caryophyllidae. Editorial FAN, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. [The first and only modern flora for any region in Bolivia.]
  • Rodríguez R., M. 2005. Martín Cárdenas: El Eximio Botánico y Naturalista de América. Plural Editores, La Paz. [Life and times of the father of Bolivian botany.]
  • Solomon, J. C. 1989. Bolivia. Pages 455-463. In: D. G. Campbell & H. D. Hammond (eds.), Floristic Inventory of Tropical Countries. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx.
  • Vasquez, R. & P. L. Ibisch. 2000. Qrquídes de Bolivia. Editorial FAN, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. [Includes information of plant collectors in Bolivia, also useful summary of Bolivian vegetation, now further elaborated in Ibisch and Mérida (see above); text in both English and Spanish.]
  • Wood, J.R.I. (ed). 2005. La Guía “Darwin” de las Flores de Los Valles Bolivianos. Darwin Initiative. [Contains 400 descriptions and excellent photographs of flowering plants of the dry interandean valleys. A rather odd and somewhat misleading title.]


Geographic Sources for Bolivia


  • Instituto Geografico Militar. 1997. Atlas de Bolivia. Segunda Edición. La Paz. [Slightly better than Ecuador, but still inferior to Peru. Also available on CD.]
  • Montes de Oca, I. 1997. Geografía y Recursos Naturales de Bolivia. Tercera Edición. EDOBOL, La Paz.
  • Montes de Oca, I. 2004. Enciclopedia Geográfica de Bolivia. Editora Atenea S.R.L., La Paz.


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