The Forestry Law stipulates in its regulations that all areas under forest management must have a monitoring system of the forests used to evaluate their growth, yield and response to silvicultural treatments that are applied. For its part, the regulation indicates that this monitoring must be carried out through repeated measurements of permanent plots. The number of plots to be installed in an area under forest management depends on the productive area that the area has, being that the maximum number of permanent plots to be installed is 50 ha. For more details on the guidelines to be followed for the installation of permanent plots, see point 3.11 of Technical Norm 248/98 on the website of the Forestry Superintendence. It should also be mentioned that the Sustainable Forest Management Project (BOLFOR) developed the Guide for the installation of permanent plots to facilitate the establishment of the same. This methodology is the one that has been used to establish most of the conventional permanent plots.
The monitoring system defined by the Forestry Law has not been implemented satisfactorily, mainly due to the high costs involved in the implementation and adequate maintenance of the plots. For example, of the 560 hectares in permanent plots that were to be installed in 1998 and 1999, only 106 hectares were established. Aside from the plots established in the country to date, only about 30% were used to estimate growth rates and evaluate the performance of the forest. Most of these plots have been installed with the support of an external institution or project (for example, with support from the BOLFOR project). The remaining 70% present problems in their establishment, monitoring, or in the quality of the data obtained.
The difficulties in implementing the monitoring system have been identified by the Forest Superintendency. To correct or reduce the costs of establishing the plots, the Forest Superintendency adopted an alternative procedure for the installation of plots by region or forest formation, eight regions having been identified. The different users with forests under management in a certain region can be grouped to install a reduced number of plots. The group of concessionaires or owners must contract the services of an executing agency to evaluate the parcels. The executing agency must be an institution with experience in this type of work, and must be recognized by the Forestry Superintendence. To date there is only one group of dealers that has opted for this procedure. This group works in the Chiquitania and receives support for the monitoring of the plots of the Foundation for the Conservation of the Chiquitano Forest, the Forestry Chamber of Bolivia, the same companies, the IBIF and other organizations and universities.
So far there are 240 ha of conventional permanent plots installed in the main ecoregions within the areas of timber and non-timber forest production. Most of these plots have been remedied twice, but some have been remedied up to six times. The plots are being monitored every two years. There are conventional plots that have been monitored since 1996.