Habitat Restoration Project: Objective Fundraising Goal: $40,000
Bird Endowment and partner Asociación Armonía are taking action to restore the savanna/forest ecosystem in the recently enlarged Laney Rickman Blue-throated Macaw Reserve in the Beni Savanna in Bolivia. Now that Armonía owns this important piece of land, steps can be made to restore the habitat and bring it back to its natural state for the IUCN Critically Endangered Blue-throated Macaw and other species to thrive.
The Laney Rickman Reserve protects the most significant breeding grounds for the Blue-throated Macaw. The survival success of the Blue-throated Macaw in the wild is highly dependent on the availability of large trees. Traditionally, these rare birds prefer to make their nests in empty cavities of large mature trees. However, over 150 years of land use in the Beni Savanna, this bird’s native range, has cleared almost all these older-growth trees, reducing the availability of suitable nest areas for the Blue-throated Macaw.
The long-term objective of the habitat restoration is to achieve a restored forest to its most natural state possible, a diverse ecosystem that includes old growth trees and other over harvested species that will provide habitat, food and nesting cavities for the Blue-throated Macaw and other threatened wildlife.
In this video, Bennett Hennessey with Armonía shows motacú palm tree regeneration at the Barba Azul Nature Reserve, Beni, Bolivia. "Cattle ranching in the Beni Savannas has destroyed many motacú palm islands, where all the trees are 60-70 years old, with almost no regeneration. If this continues, in 100 years the Beni savanna will have only 10% of its motacú palm trees." Part of the Habitat Restoration Project on the Laney Rickman Reserve includes restoring motacú palm trees the fruit of which is the primary food source for the Blue-throated Macaw.
Habitat Restoration: Overview and Timeline
Budgeted expenses include costs for Armonía personnel Tjalle Boorsma, Project Supervisor and Luz Mercado, Project Lead plus a field assistant and a contracted botanist. This critical project will require 17 months to conduct the activities of surveying, reforestation, and monitoring during two dry and one rainy season.
Work on this critical project commenced in late 2022 with surveys to document the current diversity, structure, and composition of the remnant forest, an important first step in understanding the ecosystem and determining what needs to be done to restore the habitat. Armonía staff worked closely with a botanist to map the reserve and assess the various levels of degradation. The resulting data are incorporated into the Reforestation and Monitoring Plan for the Laney Rickman Reserve. Since Armonía now owns the land, plans are being made not only for 5-year and 10-year goals, but also long-range goals for 100 and 200 years.
The next immediate step is the Greenhouse Project to research and understand what specific types of plants need to be restored. The primary food source for the Blue-throated Macaw is the fruit of the motacú palm tree Attalea phalerata. In addition, these birds also enjoy fruits from various other trees. Once the types and sources of seeds are determined, the project intends to sow and nurturing them in the greenhouse. Research will also be done on testing the best methods for planting and maintaining the seedlings to ensure they will grow into mature trees.
After the seedlings are planted, Armonía will construct firebreaks to protect the restored areas. In addition, workshops will be held on the reserve to share the best conservation and restoration practices with landowners, cattle ranchers, local government personnel, and university staff and students
Based on the results of the surveys, other native tree species considered for forest enrichment include the IUCN Vulnerable Big-leaf mahogany tree Swietenia macrophylla, the fruit-bearing evergreen tree Calophyllum brasiliense, the flowering tree Dypterix odorata that bears tonka beans, the Spanish cedar Cedrela odorata, and Ormosia spp. trees which produce striking black and red seeds.
$38,000 has been raised as of 8/30/23,
thanks to these generous donors:
Peter Osvaldik / Barba Azul USA, WA
Lion Country Safari, FL
"Chicken Thoughts" on Instagram
Ginger and Jim Payant, UT
Bird Endowment's"Party in Parrot-dise"
at NPRPF Parrot Festival, Jan. 2022
Pat Palmer Foundation
Raleigh Durham Caged Bird Society
Bird Endowment's "Blues Bash"
at American Fed. of Aviculture Conf., Aug.2022
Chirp Merch, Kim and Geoff Hatch, AZ
Sedgwick County Zoo
Fresno Chafee Zoo
Katie Beales, UK
Donations may be made ONLINE
or by CHECK made out to
'Bird Endowment' and mailed to:
(on memo line write: Habitat Restoration Project)
1707 1/2 Post Oak Blvd. #194
Houston, Texas 77056
Questions? Please contact:
Bennett Hennessey at
or Dorothy Paterson at