Large Scale Connectivity as a Key Tool for Conservation in Colombia

Esteban Payán GarridoPanthera Colombia Martin von HildebrandFundación Gaia Amazonas

Biological corridors, such as the "Jaguar Corridor" and the "Path of the Anacondas", connect areas of natural systems and are essential to guarantee the protection of biodiversity and the supply of ecosystem services.

The principle of conserving biodiversity exclusively with protected areas was reevaluated some years ago due to the emphasis given

on connecting areas of natural ecosystems through corridors1. In Colombia, the variety of landscapes requires extensive biological corridors that are based on focal species and distributed in a way that all of the territory is covered: from the Pacific region, the Andes mountain ranges and valleys, to the plains of the Orinoquia and the Amazon. In this sense, the protection of keystone species ensures that most of the territory is included, but also that the associated biota is conserved.

Connectivity is indispensable in order to maintain gene flow between populations and also to guarantee the ecosystem services provided by those natural areas. For example, corridors may positively affect the regulation of water cycles in places like the Amazon basin, a region in which the incorporation of conservation strategies to indigenous territories is essential. The most common tool in creating connectivity is the use of biological corridors2, especially those that are based on species with large sizes and territories, low population densities, great popularity within the general public, and high sensitivity to human activities3-6.


Panthera onca > see species sheet VUVULNERABLE
1,72 - 2,41m 158kg
Ecological and cultural landscape mosaic of the Andes, Amazon, and Atlantic, and the Jaguar Corridor Initiative in Central and South America.
Ecological and cultural landscape mosaic
Identified jaguar corridors
Jaguar Conservation Units
The Jaguar Corridor
is an example of large-scale connectivity that ensures the long-term survival (>300 years) of jaguars and their associated biodiversity. It connects forests that occur between 0 and 2000 meters above sea level

that are in protected areas or "Jaguar Conservation Units" (JCU=>50 adult jaguars), so the constant flux of jaguars that inhabit those areas is allowed. The implementation of the Jaguar Corridor entails the possibility of species dispersal through areas that are not protected, and it also seeks to maintain human productivity in a way in which jaguars may find suitable habitats that contain enough prey without being persecuted by humans. However, the initiative will only be feasible in areas of zoned mosaic landscapes where better agricultural, mining, and energy practices are implemented.


The Path of the Anacondas
is a biological corridor with a multinational extension that aims to be the largest ecological and cultural landscape mosaic in the world.

It has the goal of reestablishing the connection between the Andes-Amazon-Atlantic7 ecosystems in order to guarantee the supply of ecosystem services of the Amazon basin, along with searching for innovative strategies against climate change. Such connectivity is essential in order to secure the stability of water cycles, conservation and resilience of biodiversity, and human well-being. The initiative promotes articulations between indigenous peoples, local populations, productive sectors, organizations, and governments, an aspect that allows for recalling the possibility of human activity in harmony with the supporting natural system. The Path of the Anacondas captures the concept of connectivity currently present in indigenous cultures such as the Tucano Oriental of the Vaupés, which alludes to the vital energy of the jungle that flows from the sea to the mountain ranges.

Jaguar Corridor Initiative in Colombia
Jaguar Conservation Units
Identified corridors
“Muchas de las Unidades de Conservación de Jaguar ya son parques nacionales o áreas protegidas“ Esteban Payán
¿Cuál es la percepción que se tiene en la sociedad del jaguar?
¿Cómo entienden las diferentes comunidades la importancia de conservar el jaguar?
¿Cuales son las metas futuras de la iniciativa Corredor Jaguar?