The montane Apolo savannas combine grassland vegetation with some species of shrubs and small trees.
The montane savannas of the Bolivian Yungas are distributed in islands and strips within montane forests between 1,000 and 2,500 meters above sea level. Around Apolo, the largest area of this type of savannas or grasslands occurs, with an area of about 545 km2. Smaller areas also occur along the roads connecting the surrounding villages of Apolo (Asariamas, Virgen del Rosario, Mojos, Keara, Pelechuco, San José de Uchupiamonas, Mapiri). The predominant vegetation consists of herbaceous grass species (Poeceae and Cyperaceae, among others), but shrubs and small trees also occur.
These savannas are poorly studied and it is still not known to what extent their origin is natural or due to human intervention. Grazing areas have traditionally been subject to fire to maintain pasture, leading to ecosystem degradation. However, it is also clear that there were natural grasslands in patches, restricted to hills edges and sandstone plateaus. Evidence of the existence of natural grasslands includes the presence of endemic species of plants and animals of the area. Additionally, the first military and religious expeditions (XVI and XVII) described the pampas of Apolo as grassland plains, suitable for cattle, and adjacent to montane jungles. The establishment of the Franciscan mission in Apolo in the seventeenth century introduced livestock including sheep, cattle, horses and pigs.
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