Status and Trends of Biodiversity
Colombia is listed as one of the world’s “megadiverse” countries, hosting close to 14% of the planet’s biodiversity. Colombia possesses a rich complexity of ecological, climatic, biological and ecosystem components. The country counts 35,000 vascular plants, 467 mammal species, 1,768 bird species, 609 amphibian species and 475 reptile species. Colombia was ranked as one of the world’s richest countries in aquatic resources, which is partly explained by the fact that the country’s large watersheds feed into the four massive sub-continental basins of the Amazon, Orinoquía, Magdalena and Cauca.
The largest source of biological diversity is found in the Andean ecosystem, characterized by a significant variety of endemic species, followed by the Amazon rainforest and the sub-humid ecosystem in Choćo biogeographical area. This varied richness presents Colombia with a unique opportunity for the implementation of sustainable development initiatives. However, a considerable part of these natural ecosystems have been transformed for agriculture, primarily in the Andean and Caribbean regions. It has been estimated that almost 95% of the country’s dry forests have been reduced from their original cover, including close to a 70% of typically Andean forests. Some of the main threats to the conservation of biological diversity include population migrations due to internal conflict, agricultural development, habitat degradation, increased presence of invasive species and general pollution dynamics.
Number and Extent of Protected Areas
Colombia, with the establishment of the National Nature Parks System has consolidated the conservation of more than 10 million acres, corresponding to 10% of the national territory. All ecosystems are represented within this protected area network, where dry forests and savannahs are the least abundant.
Percentage of Forest Cover
The primary terrestrial biomes in Colombia have undergone several changes. The areas covered by each type of biome are distributed as follows: 378,000 ha humid tropical forest, 1,200 ha of dry and sub-humid tropical forest, 9,500 ha desert and thicket, 45,000 ha Andean forest, 14,000 ha Amazonian savannahs, 1,000 ha Caribbean savannahs, and 3,300 ha of mangrove forests.