COLOMBIA WILL CONTINUE MAINTAINING ITS SECOND PLACE IN THE WORLD BIODIVERSITY RANKING?
Photo 1 - Our spectacled bear in its habitat
Often many readers consult what position in the world football ranking their favorite team occupies, and they get bored when they discover that they are not even in the top fifty, a result that puts them on the warpath against managers and players.
The bravado is if you want respectable, however, few consult the place that our country occupies in the world ranking of biodiversity, and therefore, there are also few who find out something that should make Colombians proud: Colombia occupies the second place in biodiversity, barely surpassed by Brazil, although Colombia displaces it to second places in birds and reptiles.
To occupy this second place we owe it completely to NATURE, to the responsibility of all, is to preserve it: the human being can undo in a short time what nature has taken millions of years to create, especially when we talk about ecosystems as fragile as they are precisely those that make up the great biodiversity system of Colombia.
To give us an idea of this natural wealth, it is enough to mention the data that appear on the website of the Ministry of the Environment:
"Colombia is the second country in the world with more biodiversity, currently has 1,889 species of birds, 4,000 orchids, 2,000 in marine fish, 3,000 of butterflies and 1,239 of macrohongs, among others.
These figures reveal only a part of the innumerable wealth and natural variety that surrounds our country and represent the challenge of continuing the search for new species that increase the inventory of our biodiversity »
Amazing to know that in only orchids we have four thousand varieties, when most people only have knowledge of the so-called Cattleya trianae which is the most showy with its wide range of colors where semiallows and light roses stand out. Or know that in nature birds were more generous with us: in Colombia nest 20% of the birds of the planet.
So much wealth and waste of beauty in plant and animal species, demands care and responsibility: an environmental catastrophe in Colombia leaves the planet without much of the habitat of many species, for example of birds, reptiles and butterflies that will literally disappear. Well, environmental catastrophes may have their origin, for example, in the unpredictable behavior of the seismic plates or in the resurgence of climatic phenomena: a tsunami or a flood may end the damp Pacific ecosystem of Nariño; the most serious is when the hand of man is responsible for precipitating the factors involved to produce the catastrophe: intentional breakage of pipelines, indiscriminate felling of trees, premeditated wildfires, illegal trafficking of species (both animals and plants), mining illegal and industrial mining in reserve areas, fracking to extract oil, expansion of the agricultural frontier to natural reserve areas, improper treatment of wastewater, air and water pollution by industrial processes, or by mobile sources, zero recycling, utilization massive plastic, and a long etcetera of bad practices that generate environmental degradation and consequently affectation of the species with which we live, and of our own: we human beings, you and I that at the rate that we are going we will have to enlist natural science albums to teach the grandchildren what the guacharacas were, the hawksbill turtles, the wax palm Quindío, the cotton-top tamarin, the spectacled bear, the puma and the iguanas, and also photos of Caño Cristales and the Parque de los Nevados.
Violence and the overflow of illicit crops such as coca are also a factor that aggravates the stability of our environment. The newspaper EL TIEMPO dated August 26, 2018, published an interesting report entitled: "The expansion of coca threatens the country's biodiversity" based on a study conducted by Alexander Rincon and Jorge Velásquez Tibatá, researchers at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute..
Let's not let the spectacled bear habitat become this:
Here is a very illustrative section on what drug trafficking means as a generator of devastating effects on the environment:
"Well, the Alexander von Humboldt Institute, in its most recent BIO report, puts wings and legs on this issue and warns that 2,342 species - among amphibians, reptiles and birds - are potentially distributed in the areas cultivated with coca between 2012 and 2016. The figure includes 189 species with some degree of global threat, among which are the red-breasted woodcreeper, the broad-nosed bat, the harlequin frog of Cauca and the guacharaca. "
This report from El Tiempo was also accompanied by a report to researcher Alexánder Rincón, from which it is important to highlight his answers to these two questions:
What is the most affected biome1 in Colombia by coca crops?
Unfortunately, the diagnosis is quite ignored politically, a sector that often turns its back on the scientific data that we throw out. What we can say with certainty is that the fumigation policy generates a displacement, which is known as a 'balloon effect', which means that you fumigate in one part and then the crop appears in another area.
The cost is translated into the deforestation of new areas, especially of tropical humid forest in the Colombian Pacific, a biodiversity hotspot. This brings a collateral effect on vulnerable communities with their unmet basic needs, because with coca, violence, illegal armed groups and fumigations also move.
What is the relationship between deforestation and coca crops?
The ecosystem must be understood as a living being that can remain functional even though it is transformed. The problem is if you get to pass the threshold, because then there will be no possibility of recovering or restoring it.
According to the United Nations, deforestation is one of the most important problems associated with coca cultivation. Between 2001 and 2013, 290,000 hectares of forest were lost for this reason in Colombia.
Much of this loss occurs in areas of high biodiversity where it also burns, which increases soil erosion and the use of herbicides and fertilizers that impact in a harmful way. The species are losing their habitat.
1Bioma: Each ecological unit in which the biosphere is divided according to a set of climatic and geological factors that determine the type of vegetation and fauna.
Source: El Tiempo, edition August 26/2018. Section: In depth, p. 5
This report leaves concern, not to say dismay, given the seriousness of the situation facing the country, a problem that must mobilize an early and effective correction, starting with a state policy of frank, active and urgent defense of our ecological heritage: fauna, flora and water resources and human beings give no wait. To straighten the course of the country in terms of applying more generous policies with the environment belongs to all of us; Researcher Rincon shows us with facts and figures that the fumigation of coca by sprinkling is a big mistake insofar as he only manages to move the coca crops from one place to another, from which it follows that more fumigation more numerous will be the fretting, which will take more territory of ecological wealth.
As we celebrate the National Day of Biodiversity, we must pause to reflect on the wonderful country we have and ask ourselves how we should add our individual effort to that of other people to help strengthen the conservation of our biodiversity. Our actions as human beings watching over the life of all species in Colombia, starting with ours, is in these days of attacks on nature, the most important priority.
Source photo 1: https://www.elespectador.com/noticias/medio-ambiente/los-10-desastres-ambientales-de-colombia-el-2015-galeria-605714
Source photo 2: https://www.elespectador.com/noticias/medio-ambiente/los-10-desastres-ambientales-de-colombia-el-2015-galeria-605714