WWF-Colombia presents ‘Living Colombia Report – 2017’, the largest compilation and historical analysis of the state of the country's ecosystems
Bogota, Colombia, November 2017 - For the first time, a historical review of the transformation of the Colombia´s ecosystems has been published in Colombia, as well as a detailed examination of the current state of biodiversity, ecosystem services, and pressures and threats. All this is contained in the Living Colombia Report - 2017, developed by WWF-Colombia and built on studies prepared by the most renowned research centers and scientific institutions in the country. The document also presents a concrete proposal for a more inclusive, equitable and resilient future.
In the country, 85 major types of ecosystem have been identified and an estimated 31.3% has undergone some kind of transformation. To name an example: between 1985 and 2005 alone, the annual loss rate for páramo ecosystems that provide water for 70% of Colombians and XX% of the Colombian economy, reached 17%.
The report names 20 ecosystems (25% of the total in the country) that are in critical condition (CR) and 17 ecosystems endangered (EN, 21% of the total). Together, they make up almost half of the national ecosystems. This alarming deterioration of the natural resource base in the country, seriously compromises the survival of many species and limits the provision of services that support production systems and the welfare and well-being of Colombians.
Threatened and vulnerable species
According to the information contained in the Red Books of Threatened Species for Colombia, 2.22% of the species present in the country are in one of the three threat categories of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable).
For example, of the 1,853 plant species evaluated to date, 665 (36%) are threatened with extinction. The situation of the Colombian terrestrial fauna is also worrisome: 41 out of 284 species of terrestrial animals are Critically Endangered, 112 are Endangered and 131 are Vulnerable. If these trends were to advance, Colombia would have to erase from its biodiversity list, species of bees that fulfill critical functions for the ecosystems, or hummingbirds, paujiles, parrots and spider monkeys, among others.
The largest number of threatened freshwater animal species are fish. Based on commercial fisheries data, the basins of the Magdalena, Orinoco and Amazon rivers show clear signs of an alarming decline in their fisheries. Catches in the Magdalena basin decreased by almost 90% since the 1970s; fishery landings in the Orinoco basin declined 85% between 1997 and 2009, and in the Putumayo river basin, the decline between 1992 and 2009 was close to 80%. The Bocachico del Magdalena (Prochilodus magdalenae) or the tiger catfish (Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum) have practically disappeared from Colombian kitchens.
Biodiversity in a new context
Living Colombia Report - 2017 emphasizes that the country has a growing population that demands more and more resources, as well as an economy based on principles that place at risk the future survival of a growing number of species and ecosystems. The development model of the past, based on extraction of natural resources considered unlimited, is no longer appropriate for the future.
And while the post-conflict context offers immense opportunities, the drive for growth, private sector and foreign investment with support from the government could lead to rapid transformation, the report sustains..
In this post conflict context, Colombia will need to drive an inclusive and equitable development built on a green growth model. WWF-Colombia seeks to contribute a low carbon and resilient growth model ensuring that this development is based on the valuation of its ecosystem services and adequate institutional, social, political and economic governance at a local, national, regional and international level.
To advance in the achievement of this ambitious purpose, WWF-Colombia has proposed three cross cutting thematic lines:
- A space for nature. Strengthen protected and conservation areas and productions systems that are more compatible with biodiversity and provision of ecosystem services and creation of more resilient landscapes.
- Effective social, political, legal and institutional governance that calls for more effective participation with different stakeholders and strengthening social, legal, political and institutional agreements for the adequate access, benefit sharing and use of natural resources.
- Markets and financial systems in which sector planning and production and harvesting models reduce deforestation, changes in land use, overexploitation of resources and the promote low carbon development.
Media and Content Officer WWF-Colombia
Cellphone: 319 212 9867
Mariana Romero Gómez
Cellphone: 310 260 4559