PART of the 3 million-acre Chimane Forest is covered by a precedent-setting debt-for-nature swap signed by Bolivia and Conservation International (CI) in July 1987. CI bought $650,000 of Bolivia's bank debt, in exchange for a government agreement to set aside funds to conserve rapidly diminishing rain forests. According to Lidema, a Bolivian environmental group, Bolivia will lose half its forests by the year 2000.
About 40 percent of Bolivia's forests are controlled by timber companies, including 1.4 million Chimane acres. CI says the forest's best hope is a new management plan - the Amazon basin's ``first exercise in regional planning.'' Indians marching to La Paz to protest forest destruction want a ``complete restructuring'' of the plan. ``CI will only continue with the plan if the Indians participate,'' says Mar'ia Teresa Ortiz, a CI official in Bolivia.