The biological and cultural richness of the Colombian Amazon is invaluable, that is why its protection must be a State and society’s priority. These are the figures that protect 74.7% of the Amazon region.
In Colombia, environmental protection figures were created to ensure the continuity of ecological and evolutionary processes, maintaining biological and cultural diversity, as well as ensuring the supply of socio-environmental services that are vital for the continuity of planet’s life.
In Colombia, there are several types of figures that have been configured at different times in the history of the country. For example, in 1959, the Colombian State established the rule (Ley 2ª) that regulates the conservation of renewable natural resources under the figure of Forest Reserve Areas and establishes the general principles for the creation of National Natural Parks.
Subsequently, the country subscribed to the Convention on Biological Diversity through Law 165 of 1994, which served as the basis for formulating the National Biodiversity Policy and for the establishment of a National System of Protected Areas (SINAP in Spanish), which is the institution that currently manages all of its activities.
Currently, in accordance with the Decree that led to its creation (3272 of 2010), SINAP gathers and articulates all Protected Areas, social actors, institutions, strategies and management tools that contribute to the conservation of the country’s natural heritage.
Indigenous Territories are figures of protection due to their effectiveness conserving the ecosystems and cultural diversity of the indigenous peoples living there. These territories are collective property, inhabited by one or more indigenous communities and governed by an autonomous organization, protected by its own normative system.
In the Colombian Amazon, there are 216 Indigenous Territories that guard more than 50% of the Amazon forest. A total of 56 indigenous peoples from 14 different linguistic families express the great cultural diversity of the region and protect 26’976.283 Ha.
The diversity of knowledge systems and cultural practices are the most feasible, dignified and effective strategies for the conservation of Amazon forests. For instance, the indigenous food system, benefits all the organisms of the forest, because it takes into account the connection or relationship that exists between the plants, the soil and the production cycles. (Read Chagra: Food source, integrated system and foundation of life)
In addition, and thanks to the Constitution rules regard to the restriction of the use of resources in these areas - where extractive activities depend on the communities’ approval - the Indigenous Territories are the most effective forms of protection for forest conservation.
This is why Gaia Amazonas promotes the expansion of Indigenous Territories, support the consolidation of self- governments and environmental management systems based on traditional knowledge. We are convinced that by supporting indigenous Amazon governance, we contribute to the protection of the biological and cultural diversity of the biome, for the country and for the world.
The Natural Protected Areas cover 14’363.228 Ha, corresponding to 28,4% of the Amazon. Due to the diversity of ecosystems and the conservation priorities of certain territories, several categories of protection were defined. In the Amazon, for example, there are Flora Sanctuary, Wildlife Sanctuary, National Natural Park, Regional Natural Park, Integrated Management District, Nature Protective Forest Reserve, Regional Forest Reserve, Civil Society Nature Reserve, Recreation Area and Ramsar Wetland.
In the Natural Protected Areas, the development of agricultural or industrial activities, including hotels, mining and oil companies, deforestation, excavations, hunting, and fishing, except for the subsistence of the communities are forbidden.
The Protected Areas are proof of the efforts to conserve the cultural and natural heritage of the country. Indigenous Territories managed by communities that own the knowledge and have a connection with the forest. Together, they form a mosaic of connectivity that ensures the socio-ecological stability Colombia’s south territory.