Collective territories in Colombia are legal figures by which indigenous, afro-descendant, and peasant communities are recognized with the ownership of the land. These areas are referred to as Indigenous Reserves, Lands for Afro-Descendant Communities, and Lands for Peasant Communities, respectively. The areas designated as collective territories contain great biological diversity and include important land covers such as paramos, wetlands, and natural forests.
The preservation and sustainable management of biodiversity may not be guaranteed without the active participation of the holders of these lands nor the complete respect towards their political and cultural rights. As the Colombian law recognizes these collective territories, it also recognizes that the holders of these lands may use their own forms of territorial management and have relative autonomy in defining their Life Plans, Management Plans of Afro-descendant Communities, and Sustainable Development Plans, according to their cultural identities and their local and customary forms of production and relation to their biophysical environment. The systems that these collective territories have for management and government, along with the different agreements and articulations of these systems to authorities and institutions of the central, regional, and municipal governments, are important sources for innovation in the adapting governance of the territory and the integrated management of biodiversity
The multiple ways in which ethnic and rural communities of the country protect and manage their collective territories create scenarios that are essential for improving the management of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Likewise, different forms of using and embracing biodiversity may be learned from the circumstances of these territories. Finally, strategies of adapting to seasonal ecological dynamics offer knowledge that is of national and international interest in order to face the new challenges of global climate change.
Source *Incoder, 2015. For the calculation of this information current requests of extension were not taken into account.