Bolivia: A Methodology for Emissions Inventory and Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment

Bolivia Country Study Project Team

SUMMARY: The present work represents Bolivia's first effort under its country study that is being carried out with the assistance of the U.S. Country Studies Program. Its main objectives are to establish an inventory of greenhouse gases (GHG) produced in the energy and nonenergy sectors (i.e., agriculture, biomass burning, deforestation, waste waters, and sanitary landfills). The study also evaluates the vulnerability and adaptability of the most significant national sectors exposed to climate change, and, finally, establishes the most appropriate means of mitigation (i.e., emission reduction) for Bolivia.

This document presents an introduction to the inventory task that will be developed in Bolivia, as well as the methodologies established for carrying out an inventory of GHG and a vulnerability and adaptation analysis. Preliminary results on the inventory of emissions are also presented.


The GHG inventory includes gases with direct greenhouse effects (CO2, CH4, N2O) as well as indirect effects (NOX, CO, NMVOC). The estimation of emissions was carried out according to the Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (IPCC 1994) and constitutes a first approximation that will be refined and brought to a conclusion during the period 1995-1996 as the Country Study is carried out.

The vulnerability and adaptation (V&A;) analysis presents the objectives agreed upon, the methodologies to be utilized, a description of the basic scenarios to be considered, and the simulation models to be applied.

The Ministry of Sustainable Development and the Environment was created by means of Supreme Decree in 1993 with the objective of strengthening environmental management in Bolivia.

The Framework Convention on Climate Change was ratified by the Government of Bolivia in July 1994 in accordance with the position it had adopted at the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992.

In August 1994, the Ministry of Sustainable Development, acting through the National Bureau of Natural Resources and the Environment, signed a Technical Assistance agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), acting through the U.S. Country Studies Program, to carry out an "Inventory of GHG Emissions and their Impact on Ecosystems" study with the following objectives:

The organizational structure of the project will have three basic levels: decisionmaking under the Ministry of Sustainable Development and the Environment; operational control, through the Coordination of the Climate Change Program; and support, with instances of coordination among State, academic, and private sector institutions.

Principal Characteristics of Bolivia

Bolivia is situated in the mid-west of the South American continent, between parallels 9° 38' and 22° 53' South Latitude and between meridians 57° 25' and 69° 38' West Longitude. It is bordered by Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Paraguay. It has no access to the sea. The country is divided into Altiplano (high plateau), valleys, and lowland plains. The altitude varies from 4,000 m above sea level in the high plains to 400 m in the lowlands, with valleys varying in altitude from 1,000 to 2,000 m

The Andes mountains reach 6,000 to 7,000 m above sea level. Such great ranges in altitude involve a variety of climates. The lowland plains have a tropical climate, the valleys a moderate subtropical climate, and the Altiplano has a moderately cold climate with the higher peaks covered by eternal snow.

Bolivia has a rich biodiversity. The existence of a large number of species may be cited: 250 classes of reptiles, 190 amphibious species, more than 200 species of fish, and some 20,000 species of plants.

Bolivia has an area of 1.09 million sq. km., inhabited by a population of 6.4 million (according to the 1992 census), with a low population density of 5.8 persons/km2.


Inventory Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Since the 1980s, agricultural activity in Bolivia has had significant increases due to the expansion and intensification of crop productivity.

Utilization of energy for domestic purposes, transportation, and industry, is a significant source of greenhouse gases. Also, urban wastes, with inadequate systems for the final disposal of waste and inadequate sanitation infrastructure, contribute to the generation of greenhouse gases from human wastes.

Forests cover 51.4 percent of the 1,098,000 sq. km. of Bolivian territory. Humid tropical and subtropical forests account for approximately 37 percent. Temperate and xerophytic woodlands cover 14.4 percent. In recent years tropical and subtropical forests have been subjected to a greater incidence of deforestation in a process that varies in intensity in the different regions (human intervention, clear cutting, livestock raising and colonization). The Bolivian Amazon region, furthermore, contains an area of 162,000 sq. km. of pasture land that are burned over during the dry season for various reasons.

The study has established the following objectives for the emission inventory:

For the estimation of greenhouse gases from the burning of forests and pasture land, a selection will be made of coefficients of emissions in accordance with the methodologies available, estimating the types of gases that are generated by deforestation and the burning of pasture land under the conditions in Bolivia. The methodologies proposed by the IPCC will be utilized in their entirety, with some factors of emission being adjusted to allow for the effects of altitude and pressure. For agriculture and livestock, CH4 emissions will be estimated for the fermentation of animal excrement and the decomposition process in flooded areas, and production of CO2 will be estimated due to biomass burning. Estimates will be made for the overall emissions of CH4, CO2, and N2O due to different energy uses, industrial activities, and such urban activities as sanitary landfills and anaerobic sewage treatment facilities.

Preliminary Greenhouse Gases Emissions Results
A preliminary evaluation of the greenhouse gases inventory was attempted, using the limited information available at the present moment for the energy and agriculture sectors. Information is not yet available on changes in land use, forestry, solvents, and the utilization of other products, such as wastes (solid residues, waste waters, incineration). Such inventory activities will be carried out in the near future.

Table 1 presents a preliminary inventory. The purpose of this preliminary inventory is to indicate the contribution of the various activities with respect to the greenhouse effect.

The inventory includes gases with direct effects (CO2, CH4, N2O) as well as indirect effects (NOX, CO, NMVOC). The calculation of emissions was carried out using emission factors from the IPCC guidelines and documents of national activities. Possible future evolution of emissions is indicated by +/0/- (increase/stable/decrease). Fuels originating in the biomass sector are not included in the national CO2 balance. Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5(5a and 5b) show emissions by sector and by type of gas.

From the partial and preliminary inventory presented, the following observations can be made:

Emission Inventory and Mitigation Considerations

It is possible that population increases and economic growth will increase GHG emissions in some sectors of the national production. The fact that Bolivia is a country in transition within the region must be taken into account. As a supplier of energy, Bolivia will export natural gas, and probably electricity, to neighboring countries. The national energy strategy for rural areas is to expand demand, which at the present time is low, in comparison to urban demand.

It is not possible to attempt to establish possible measures to reduce emissions. Such measures will be developed only after the inventory has been carried out in detail. Possible measures in the energy sector are the reduction of natural gas losses in petroleum production activities, and high efficiency in energy consumption.

A considerable quantity of natural gas is produced as a by- product of the production of petroleum and is ventilated or burned off. This represents approximately 30 percent of natural gas production. That amount could be reinjected into the wells or added to the natural gas pipeline. Projected requirements are based on a considerable demand.

The major portion of wood used as domestic fuel is the firewood used for cooking purposes. High efficiency ovens could be promoted. Energy efficiency could be developed in various industries with high energy consumption levels, such as electrical energy plants, petroleum processing, foundries, and tile factories.

With respect to the burning of forests in agriculture, several measures could be considered as long as they are in accordance with the country's conditions and possibilities, such as the reduction of the necessity to burn biomass, and control of the burning activities.

The need for burning may be reduced by lowering the loss of fertility by optimizing the use of fertilizers, for example, or by encouraging farmers to grow alternative crops. In most cases, forest burning is not necessary. Appropriate legal measures with regard to controlling the burning would limit the areas affected.

Analysis of the Vulnerability and Adaptability of Ecosystems to Climate Change

Bolivia is a country of contrasts not only in topography and climate but also at the ecological level.

Precipitation in Bolivia is closely related to the atmospheric circulation of the trade winds, which originate in the Inter-Tropical Zone of Convergence (ITZC).

The distribution of temperatures in Bolivia is the result of differences in latitude and altitude. The annual average temperature varies from 10°C on the Altiplano to 18°C in the valleys and 25°C in the lowland plains.

Temperatures may vary greatly, however, from day to day. That occurs more frequently in the lowland plains as an effect of the polar air (surazo) entering Bolivia from the south Pacific. Temperatures in Bolivia are also modified by positive or negative temperature anomalies in the east Pacific, the El Niñ o Southern Oscillation (ENSO), or Anti-Niñ o phenomena.

Recurring dry spells, floods and devastating out-of-season frost during the past five years, aggravated by the natural conditions described above, have brought into question the degree of vulnerability to global changes due to the effect of climate change.

In the event of climate change, the areas of Bolivia that would suffer the greatest impact would be those now dedicated to agricultural production, since the country supplies its domestic market by means of its internal production (products that originate in the Altiplano, as well as soya, corn, rice, and sugar cane in the regions of valleys and the lowland plains). Forested areas serving as important reservoirs of flora and fauna could also be affected. Finally, it is quite possible that water resources would be impacted, generating irrigation and supply problems in different parts of the country, particularly in those areas subject to serious water shortages.


Compilation and Evaluation of Studies. Basic information required for the execution of each of the respective modules will be compiled and harmonized with the data required by the General Circulation Models (GCMs) and impact assessment models for each sector. The models and methodologies will be adapted to the Bolivian conditions.

Validation and Application of Models. Each sector will utilize the results of the GCM model or models (i.e., CCCM, GFDL, GISS, UKMO) best suited to Bolivia.

For each sector, the models will be validated and then run with the climate scenario. The results obtained will be analyzed and the regions of vulnerability to climate change identified.

The socioeconomic scenario will be analyzed in parallel, establishing the expected conditions for the year 2070. With these results, options of adaptation for each sector will be indicated so that a general analysis of vulnerability and adaptation policies may be implemented.

Consultative Workshops. Workshops will be conducted to present the methodology and to discuss results and options for adaptation.

International Events. Bolivian technicians will participate in seminars organized in the U.S. or other countries with regard to the vulnerability and adaptation of ecosystems to climate variations in the fields of agriculture, water resources, forests, and livestock raising.

Development of Scenarios
Two scenarios will be developed: The Climate Change Scenario and the Socio-Economic Scenario.

The Climate Change Scenario will be developed using two or three GCM models (CCCM, GFDL, GISS, UKMO), the results of which will be compared with historic records. Once the GCMs best adapted to Bolivia have been chosen, they will serve as a basis for work in each of the sectors to analyze the results of the predictions of their respective models.

For the Socio-Economic analysis, future population, Gross National Product (GNP), per capita income, and productivity figures must be established for at least the next 50 years.

Statistical projections shall be made by institutions responsible for providing such indicators.

Analysis of the Conduction of Biophysical and Economic Impact Studies by Sector
As mentioned above, analysis of biophysical impacts shall be divided into three sectors: agriculture, forests, and water resources.

Analysis of the Impact on Agricultural Crops
Identification of Key Topics in the Sector. Bolivia has three significant ecological levels or regions that determine the production of crops of economic importance.

In the highest region, on the Altiplano and along the periphery of the Cordillera of the Andes, the traditional crops of greatest economic importance are potatoes and barley, which serve as the basic food of the inhabitants and the livestock of the region. This ecological level is characterized by its adverse climate; soils with low levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium; and a lack of irrigation systems that would allow increased yields of crops, the majority of which are dry-farmed.

The valley region, in which the greatest production of corn is concentrated, has soils that are more fertile and a climate that is more stable. However, there is a lack of water resources, reason enough for the region to be considered in the V&A; study.

The major production of rice and soya in Bolivia is concentrated in the tropical ecosystem. In spite of the climate being appropriate for a diversity of crops, however, its soils are undergoing an accelerated process of desertification because the crop production systems utilized are extractive in nature, and the soil is recycled over very extended periods of time.

For the reasons mentioned above, an analysis of the vulnerability and adaptability of the crops of economic relevance in the various ecological levels of Bolivia is of vital importance to face the climate changes that may occur in each of the regions.

Selection of the Methodology. The analytical methodology that will be utilized for the evaluation of climate impact on the crops will be based on the DSSAT3 program, which compares those strategies that are suitable to measure changes both in climate and in agricultural production.

Statistical data will be obtained from the various agencies related to the agricultural meteorology and climatology of the country, such as Secretaria Nacional de Agricultura y Ganaderí a, Food and Agricultural Organization, Instituto Bolivieno de Technologí a Agropecuarí a, Camara Agropecuarí a del Oriente, etc.

Analysis of the Impact of Pasturing and Livestock Raising
Identification of Key Topics in the Sector. Potential areas for livestock production and possible changes in land use for the qualification of pastures and economic impacts will be analyzed.

Selection of the Methodology. The methodology to be used for the assessment is based on the selection of the two or three GCMs that most closely approximate conditions in the country.

A program will be implemented to identify potential areas for livestock production and the country's natural pastures that are subject to change and may be vulnerable.

Regional climate information (precipitation, temperature, solar radiation, wind) and livestock production data (weights, nutrition level, etc.) reflecting the initial conditions in the country will be used to carry out the analysis, which will take into account the economic importance of the regions and their impact on the national scene.

Later, a simulation will be implemented utilizing the model SPUR2 (simulation for production and utilization of meadows and pasture land for ranching) to establish possible vulnerable sectors.

Finally, options and policies of adaptation will be established.

Analysis of the Impact on Forests
Identify Key Topics in the Sector. The topics of greatest interest to the country in relation to climate change will be those inherent in the various forest/agricultural ecological levels or zones mentioned above.

This subtask will be focused on the economic and biophysical impacts of climate change on the forests. The same structure utilized for agricultural crops may be used here.

The specific objective of the V&A; study is to appraise productive forests in such a manner so to allow the identification of changes in certain parameters that may influence the species of the above- mentioned various ecological levels or zones.

Selection of the Methodology. The analysis will be based on the HOLDRIDGE and GAP models, taking into account temperature, precipitation, and solar radiation values. Data on temperature and precipitation covering a thirty-year period will be completed. Values for temperature and precipitation provided by the most adequate GCM will be added. Later, utilizing the CLIM program, a data base will be created to calculate the annual precipitation and biotemperature. The HOLDRIDGE model and the corresponding comparison will be utilized to determine the areas of overall impact. The GAP model will be utilized to determine the critical areas and simulation for analysis of the impact and adaptation options. Finally, an evaluation of the economic impacts will be conducted.

Analysis of Impacts on Water Resources
Identify Key Topics in the Sector. The incidence of climate change on water resources in the economic regions most important to the country will be analyzed.

Prediction models will be used to analyze possible impacts on water resources (increases or decreases in runoffs in principal basins) that could increase dry spells or floods in agricultural and grasslands, as well as increase or decrease water supplies in the reservoirs that supply water to the various cities.

The principal objective is to establish the vulnerability of those water resources, not only to climate change but also to population growth, that are exposed not only by climate change but also by population growth which impacts on future demands. Another objective is to establish the options of adaptation best suited to the country.

Water resources have a very important economic incidence in Bolivia, not only from the point of view of production but from the point of view of the population's health as well. At the present time, many medium-sized cities are completing the process of obtaining access to a supply of fresh water and many agricultural and livestock raising areas are starting to introduce modern irrigation systems to improve their production processes.

Selection of Methodology. On the basis of the results obtained from the GCMs as to changes in matters of precipitation and temperature, those same results will be introduced into some of the models studied and previously validated (WATBAL or CLIRUN).

The WATBAL model will allow for the utilization of various models of Potential Evaporation/Transpiration (PET) in function of the kind of information available.

Conduction of the Analysis of Adaptation Policies
Integration of Sector Results. An integrated analysis of all the sectors will be conducted for an overall evaluation of the effects of climate change in Bolivia. The results of this model will allow for the integration of impacts in economic terms across sectors.

This analysis will also identify possible adaptation options that may apply to two or more interrelated sectors.

Identification of Policies of Adaptation to be Considered. Adaptation policies that anticipate climate change and recommend preventive measures in the more vulnerable sectors will be evaluated. The analysis will establish and demonstrate the importance of applying such policies and the urgency to implement them in the near future. Such policies must be based on recommendations that may originate in regional and national workshops, specialized seminars, and reviews of the achievements by other countries.


Bolivia has begun its process of inventorying greenhouse gases by attempting to address the most important sources of emissions at the present time. All the recommendations set forth by the IPCC with regard to methodologies and procedures will be taken into account. Some adjustments in emission factors will have to be made. Preliminary results are just estimates. They should not be considered as references due to the fact that many GHG emission sectors still need to be analyzed.

As to vulnerability and adaptation, the preparation of the work plan has begun. The analysis of three important sectors ‹ agriculture, forests, and water resources ‹ will be conducted, since they are of vital importance to the economy and the quality of life. The methodology called for in the present document will attempt to convene a series of suggestions with respect to adaptation policies that should be considered by the national executive authorities.


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March 1995

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