Colombia is highly privileged in environmental terms, the unique characteristics of its geographical location making it a mega diverse country. In fact, it is considered to have the second-highest biodiversity in the world, just behind Brazil.
As of 2021, around 63,000 species are registered in Colombia, of which 14% are endemic. The country occupies the first position worldwide for the number of orchids, birds and butterflies, second position for plants, amphibians and fresh water fish, third place for species of palm trees and reptiles, and the sixth position globally for biodiversity of mammals.
Colombia’s diverse geography encompasses a stunning range of ecosystems, from lush rainforests to towering Andean peaks, vast savannas, and coastal wetlands. Each of these ecosystems harbors a unique collection of flora and fauna, many of which are found nowhere else on the planet. This unparalleled variety is the result of Colombia’s position at the crossroads of multiple geographic regions, including the Andes Mountains and the Amazon Rainforest.
National parks of Colombia
The country hosts 59 nationally designated protected areas. At the establishment of the most recent addition, Bahía Portete – Kaurrele National Natural Park, Colombian ex-president Juan Manuel Santos said “Biodiversity is to Colombia what oil is to the Arabs”.
According to a report by the WWF, half of Colombia’s ecosystems are in a critical state of deterioration or in a state of danger. The organization said that environmental degradation is due to oil extraction, mineral and metal extraction and deforestation. Deteriorating ecosystems are threatening the existence of more than a third of Colombia’s plants and 50 percent of its animals.
Since 1998, the Humboldt Institute for Biological Resources has been collecting biodiversity samples. As of 2014, 16,469 samples, representing around 2,530 species of 1,289 genera, and 323 families from Colombian biodiversity, have been stored in its archives.
A Global Responsibility
As the second most biodiverse country on Earth, Colombia shoulders a significant responsibility for global conservation efforts. Its diverse ecosystems are crucial for maintaining ecological balance and supporting the world’s biodiversity. By protecting its unique natural heritage, Colombia is not only ensuring the survival of countless species but also contributing to the wellbeing of the planet as a whole.