The Annotated Ramsar List: Colombia


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The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance


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The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Colombia on 18 October 1998. Colombia presently has 5 sites designated as a Wetland of International Importance, with a surface area of 458,525 hectares.

Política Nacional para Humedales Interiores de Colombia, 2001

site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas

Complejo de Humedales Laguna del Otún. 25/06/08; Risaralda; 6,579 ha; 04º45’N 075º25’W. National Park. A complex of wetlands located within the Los Nevados National Natural Park in the Central Andes of Colombia. It includes lagoons, swamps, peatlands interconnected or functionally related with one another and influenced by glaciers and páramo vegetation. The site is home to 52 species of birds, of which the most vulnerable are the aquatic species Oxyura jamaicensis andina and Podiceps occipitalis juninensis, with reduced populations and very localized distribution in Colombia – this makes them more susceptible to the degradation of their habitats, generated mainly by agricultural and livestock expansion. Other endangered bird species include Vultur gryphus, Hapalopsittaca fuertesi and Ognorhynchus icteriotis. Among the important flora species found in the site are Espeletia hartwegiana centroandina, Podocarpus oleifolius and Polylepis sericea, which are also found under special protection. In July 2006, the site suffered a fire that damaged more than 3,000 ha. A restoration plan is ongoing. Ramsar site no. 1781. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Delta del Río Baudó. 05/06/04; Chocó; 8,888 ha; 04°53'N 077°22'W. The estuary of the Baudó river on the Pacific coast, comprising flood banks, sand beaches, shrub-swamps and swamp forests. Outstanding vegetation includes nato mangroves (Mora oleifera, Mora megistosperma), with trees reaching 35 m or more in height; mangrove forests (Pelliciera rhizophorae, Avicennia germinans), and giant reeds. Noteworthy fauna include the Spotted Paca (Agouti paca), the peccaries (Tayassu pecari and Tayassu tajacu), Jaguar (Panthera onca) and Neotropical Otter (Lontra longicaudis). The wetland is habitat and reproduction site of numerous species of fish such as the cichlid Cichlasoma kraussii, the Trahira (Hoplias malabaricus) and the Flathead mullet (Mugil cephalus). Uses of the site by human communities include forest exploitation, fishing, subsistence agriculture, hunting and basket-making. Potential threats include mangrove felling, overfishing, uncontrolled hunting, boat transportation with off-board engines, and clearing for rice cultivation. Surrounding areas are the collective property of black communities. Ramsar site no. 1387.Most recent RIS information: 2004.

Laguna de la Cocha.08/01/01; Nariño; 39,000 hectares; 01°03’N 077°12’W. Wildlife sanctuary. Largely made up of a volcanic lake and the surrounding highland Andean peatlands and forest, the site support a diverse range of associated flora and fauna, mammals such as the endangered tapir (Tapirus pinchaque), near-threatened Northern pudu (Pudu mephistotels), and the endangered spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus). Important bird species such as Grebe (Podiceps occidentalis), the golden peck duck (Anas georgica spicauda), several species of snipes (Gallinago gallinago paraguaiae, Gallinago nobilis, Gallinago gallinago delicata) and the endemic ducks (Anas cyanoptera borreroi, Oxyura jamaicensis ferruginea). Regarding plants there are two important endemic species of frailejon (Espeletia cochensis, Espeletia schultesiana) andTotora (Scirpus californicus, Juncus bogotensis). Human uses include agriculture and aquaculture. The breeding of "cuyes" (Cavia porcelus) generates about 23% of the agricultural product in the Department. The site also has an important cultural value as the indigenous groups of the area, which consider it sacred, use it for purification and fertility. The archaeological values of the site are also considerable, as it was inhabited by Precolombian communities. Ramsar site no. 1047. Most recent RIS information: 2001.

Sistema Delta Estuarino del Río Magdalena, Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta.18/06/98; Magdalena; 400,000 ha; 10º45’N 074º29’W. The site is a coastal estuarine system with 20 lagoons of varying salinity, with several rivers running through the area and extensive zones of mangroves. The site is important for its mangrove ecosystem, which is the largest on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. It also serves as habitat and winter breeding ground for several bird species, has at least two endemic bird species, and is also a spawning ground for many fish species. Part of the site is state-owned, while a large area is privately-owned and commercial fishing is important for the community around it. Shellfish and crayfish are also harvested in the area, while the higher zones are used for agriculture. Ecotourism is being developed in the protected area. Ramsar site no. 951. Most recent RIS information: 1998.

Sistema Lacustre de Chingaza. 25/06/08; Cundinamarca; 4,058 ha; 04°30’N 073°45’W. Parque Nacional. A complex of lagoons and wetlands that supply water to the capital city, Bogotá. Located in the Northern Colombian Andes between 3,050 and 3,950m a.s.l., this region supports one of the dampest páramos of the country and is a center of particular endemism which has been the refuge for more than 400 flora species and 500 fauna species, some of them endangered and others which have not yet been totally identified. The complex is formed by 20 lagoons and is of great importance for migratory birds. Among the species found under special protection, at national as well as international levels, the following mammals are noteworthy: Tremactus ornatus, Mazama rufina bricenni,Tapirus pinchaque and Tapirus terrestris, and among the flora: Espeletia grandiflora, Podocarpus oleifolius, and the palm genus Xeroxilum. The site is within the boundaries of the Chingaza National Natural Park, designated in 1977. The high andean lakes also have great pre-colombian ceremonial significance. Ramsar site no. 1782. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

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