Monitoring ecological change during rapid socio-economic and political transitions: Colombian ecosystems in the post-conflict era

Carlos A. Sierra, Miguel Mahecha, Germán Poveda, Esteban Álvarez-Dávila, Victor H. Gutierrez-Velez, BjörnReu, Hannes Feilhauer, Jesús Anáya, Dolors Armenteras, Ana M. Benavides, Corina Buendia, Álvaro Duque, Lina M. Estupiñan-Suarez, Catalina González, Sebastián Gonzalez-Caro, Rodrigo Jimenez, Guido Kraemer, Maria C. Londoño, Sergio A. Orrego, Juan M. Posada, Daniel Ruiz-Carrascal and Sandra Skowronek

Environmental Science & Policy, 76, 40-49 , doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2017.06.011, 2017


After more than 50-years of armed conflict, Colombia is now transitioning to a more stable social and political climate due to a series of peace agreements between the government and different armed groups. Consequences of these socio-economic and political changes on ecosystems are largely uncertain, but there is growing concern about derived increases in environmental degradation. Here, we review the capacity of Colombia to monitor the state of its ecosystems and their rate of change over time. We found several important programs currently set in place by different institutions as well as by independent groups of scientists that address different aspects of environmental monitoring. However, most of the current initiatives could be improved in terms of data coverage, quality and access, and could be better articulated among each other. We propose a set of activities that would increase the capacity of Colombia to monitor its ecosystems, provide useful information to policy makers, and facilitate scientific research. These include: 1) the establishment of a national center for ecological synthesis that focuses on analyzing existing information; 2) the establishment of an ecological observatory system that collects new information, integrates remote sensing products, and produces near real-time products on key ecological variables; and 3) the creation of new platforms for dialog and action within existing scientific and policy groups.

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For additional information, contact: Carlos A. Sierra

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