On Monday, December 21, 2015, the Board of INCODER—the Colombian national rural development agency—approved the official expansion of the Kamentsa Biya Indigenous Reserve of Sibundoy and the legal establishment of the Inga Indigenous Reserve of Colon in the Colombian departments (states) of Putumayo and Nariño. This historic land titling decision represents significant progress in the recognition of the ancestral land rights of the Inga-Kamentsa communities of the Sibundoy Valley, whose land claims date back to the 18th century Will of the Kamentsa traditional healer Carlos Tamabioy.
The Sibundoy Reserve, located in the Colombian municipalities of Sibundoy, San Francisco, and Mocoa (Putumayo), was increased in size from 8,035 acres to 105,328 acres, and the newly established Colon reserve covers 3,783 acres in the municipalities of Colon (Putumayo) and Buesaco (Nariño). Both the process of expansion and the constitution of these indigenous reserves are the result of the joint effort of the Inga-Kamentsa communities of San Francisco, Santiago, Colon, Sibundoy and San Andrés, Colombia’s Ministry of the Interior, and the Amazon Conservation Team, all in partnership with INCODER.
Together, these reserves now cover a combined 109,112 acres (44,156 ha) of vulnerable Andean Amazon ecosystems that hold particular biodiversity significance. The dense highland rainforests and páramo grassland ecosystems encompassed within these reserves also provide important water resources to the headwater regions of two major tributaries to the Amazon River: the Caquetá and Putumayo Rivers.
The Colon and Sibundoy Reserves build on the recently expanded Yunguillo Indigenous Reserve as part of ACT’s continuing efforts to work with INCODER to form a consolidated corridor of indigenous reserves in the Colombian Andes Amazon region. These reserves form important buffer areas that help protect the Doña Juana-Cascabel Volcanic Complex National Park (162,741 acres) and promote connectivity with the Serranía de Los Churumbelos Auka-Wasi National Park (240,159 acres).
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