Amphibious Colombia, a knowledge of wetlands and moors.

Amphibious Colombia, a thorough knowledge of wetlands and moors.

Environment, May 18, 2016, Colombia.

The country has unprecedented information on ecosystems. Titled Amphibious Colombia, the results of scientific research on the moors and wetlands in the country were presented, which are habitat of amphibians, birds, plants and endemic mammals, the 77% of the population lives in areas of influence of these ecosystems, which have a level of flood risk and is a factor to take into consideration when feacing for climate phenomena. Still lack an economic boost to integrate information to spatial planning for climate change and urgent measures to protect this great ecological biodiversity.

Five years have passed since Colombia lived one of the La Niña phenomena of the most intense in its history. They are still fresh images of the massive floods that killed more than 1,000 people and left more than 7 billion pesos in material losses. The catastrophe was so great that the government created the Adaptation Fund with the dual mission that will manage humanitarian aid for the victims and become, thereafter, the entity responsible for preparing the country against the impacts of climate change.

As part of that preparation the Adaptation Fund signed in 2013 an agreement with the Humboldt Institute to collect all available information on two of the most important ecosystems in regulating the water cycle in the moors and wetlands. Titled Amphibious Colombia, the results of research that aims to make the country understand of water importance and the urgent need to be ordered around it were presented.

Colombia Amphibious contains the largest amount of available on the moors and wetlands of the country scientific information. For example, we now know that 26% of the territory is or was at any time wetland and that 77% of the population lives in areas of influence of these ecosystems, so they have some level of flood risk. “This does not mean we should start banning all human activities being undertaken on these ecosystems, but is a factor that must be taken into account when feacing for climate phenomena,” said Ursula Jaramillo, coordinator wetland research.

Although the moors occupy only 2.5% of the territory, are the factories supplying water to 15 capital cities, support 53% of hydropower and irrigation districts feed 150 for agriculture. In addition, they are home to half of amphibians, 43% of birds and 20% of plants and mammals endemic country. With this information it is clear that the country urgently needs bold action, beyond prohibitions designed to protect this wealth.

Other research data show that 150,000 hectares of moors are concessioned for mining, while 13% of all these ecosystems to livestock and agriculture is dedicated, while serving as settlement for 320,000 people. Beyond the detail, what is expected is that the inputs are used by the Ministry of Environment to define strategic ecosystems for the country. But these are taken into account by the autonomous corporations and productive sectors to organize and planning activities in the territories.

Under the new Minister of Environment, Gilberto Murillo, all available information allows a better understanding of our ecosystems to address global warming and to advance the goal of reducing our emissions by 20% by 2030. However, to achieve this it is not enough with these data: we need large monetary investments. ” And that is precisely the great concern that arises in this regard. The Ministry estimated that next year the budget for the sector is reduced by 50%. And whithout money will be impossible to involve the results of research in planning to respond to the challenges of climate change.

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