Moorlands are not very common, only six countries in the world have this type of ecosystem (Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Costa Rica and Peru). Colombia has almost 50% of the total surface, about 300 million hectares in 36 moorlands across the country.
Last week Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced 8 moorlands located in 8 different departments and 64 municipalities were being delimited in order to protect them. This happens after last February a court declared oil, gas and mining operations in moorlands as illegal.
The 100,000 hectares benefit over 3 million people throughout the 8 departments, being their main source of water. These new order must be taken into account and respected when local governments present their plans for infrastructure and development.
More so, the water produced by the moorlands is used for the irrigation of about 180,000 plantations. It is also the main source of water for hydroelectric plants such as el Quimbo, Miel I and II, El Edén, Urrá, Tasajera and Niquía.
With the current energetic crisis the country is suffering, the government aims to protect this ecosystem as it helps to save millions in water treatment and transport. Moorlands are the 66% of the country's population source of water.
Gabriel Vallejo, Colombian Environment Minister said he would continue to work to achieve his goal of delimiting all the 36 moorlands. So far 2/3 of these territories are kept in good conservation conditions.
$100 million to be invested in Amazon protected areas
In a 5 year commitment The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation pledged $100 million to establish and support protected areas across the Andes-Amazon landscape.
The $100 million pledge makes part of The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation commitment to the Andes Amazon Initiative that they support since 2001. Their priorities will focus in individual conservation units, land-use planning and protected area systems.
The foundation has already invested $358 million in the Amazon. In the next five years thanks to the investment the initiative will continue to reinforce the effective management of protected areas in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia.
Their three goals are:
- Creating and consolidating existing individual indigenous lands and protected areas.
- Conserving forest cover by incorporating protected areas and indigenous lands into relevant land-use plans.
- Securing long-term, effective funding mechanisms for national park systems, as well as effective monitoring and management systems informed through participatory processes.
Over fifteen years the foundation has help to conserve more than 140 million hectares in the Amazon.
Avecita Chicchón, Ph.D., Andes Amazon Initiative director at the foundation said: “We want to help make sure that local communities and the management and finance structures for conservation units have the resilience and long-term resources they need so conservation gains can withstand current and foreseeable pressures.”
Threats to the Amazon have intensified as a result of slowing regional economies. The lack and uncertainty of conservation funding increases the pressure on governments to weaken environmental laws.
Furthermore the annual deforestation rate keeps rising in the region. Forest clearing unsustainable logging, cattle ranching, soy farming and poorly planned infrastructure development for mining are some other activities that endanger the region.
LatinAmerican Post |María Andrea Marquez