Better Protection for Chiribiquete, Northwest Amazon’s Most Important Protected Area

Date: 
Thursday, July 13, 2017

On July 12, 2017, the Colombian National Land Agency approved the expansions of the Puerto Sábalo Los Monos Indigenous Reserve by 413,100 hectares and of the Monochoa Indigenous Reserve by 154,790 hectares. The twin expansions effectively connect the largest national park in the country, the Chiribiquete National Park, with the largest reserve, the Predio Putumayo Indigenous Reserve, creating a vast conservation corridor in the Amazon region linking near 10 million hectares of protected lands.

In 2013, ACT signed a formal agreement with Colombia’s national rural development agency INCODER—renewed in 2016 with the Colombian National Land Agency—to support the establishment and expansion of indigenous reserves throughout Colombia, protecting vulnerable territories and establishing their connectivity with nationally protected areas.

In this context, with the initial financial support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the principal funding of the Andes Amazon Fund, ACT carried out indispensable surveying and data collection as well as coordination with local communities for the expansions of the Puerto Sábalo Los Monos and Monochoa indigenous reserves.  The adjacent reserves are located in the Colombian department (state) of Caquetá in the area directly to the south of ​​the Chiribiquete National Park constituting its buffer zone, and are inhabited primarily by the Murui-Muina people. ACT’s work was carried out under a plan developed with the communities, three indigenous associations, the Colombian national parks system and the GEF Heart of the Amazon Program, with essential support from the Colombian Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development.

By consolidating a strategic connectivity corridor between protected areas and indigenous reserves in the Colombian department with the highest rate of deforestation, the free movement of species and broad ecosystem health are enabled and promoted. This achievement underscores the titling of lands to indigenous communities as one of the most important strategies to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in the Amazon.