IMPORTANCE OF NATURAL PARKS; SIERRA NEVADA DE SANTA MARTA AND LA MACUIRA
Talking about natural parks in a country like Colombia is like discovering a treasure, we are a privileged country because biodiversity is represented in more than 60 protected natural areas belonging to the National Natural Parks System with a total of approximately 23 million hectares.
It is therefore relevant to talk about Natural Heritage and the elements that compose it: physical and biological monuments, geological and physiographic formations, areas that constitute the habitat of animal and plant species and places or strictly delimited areas of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science, conservation or natural beauty (Unesco General Conference, 1972), knowledge and uses related to nature and the universe.
The natural heritage consists of biosphere reserves, natural monuments, national parks and reserves, and nature sanctuaries.
In Colombia, Law 99 of 1993 defines sustainable development as “development that leads to economic growth, improved quality of life and social welfare, without depleting the renewable natural resource base on which it is based, or deteriorating the environment or the rights of future generations”.
Natural areas are continental or marine areas of a territory delimited to conserve biological diversity and other associated values of cultural, scenic and scientific interest, as well as to contribute to the sustainability of a country.
In Colombia, Decree 2755 of 2003 defines areas with special natural attractions as “those natural spaces that conserve a sample of a natural ecosystem, understood as the functional unit composed of biotic and abiotic elements that have evolved naturally and maintain the structure, composition, dynamics, and ecological functions. This is how a special natural attraction frames special characteristics either by natural, social or cultural processes.
Natural protected areas are a clearly defined geographic space, recognized, dedicated and managed through legal or type instruments, effective to achieve the long-term conservation of nature and its ecosystem and associated cultural values (Dudley, 2008).
Why protected areas that conserve landscapes and biodiversity are important:
- They provide the water needed for crop irrigation, industrial processes and daily life.
- They help regulate rainfall patterns and fix carbon, maintaining climate stability.
- They prevent and mitigate the effects of natural disasters such as tsunamis, floods and landslides.
- They conserve the genetic diversity that makes it possible to find new medicines.
- They are centers for the dispersion of food plants and guarantee fishing resources for small coastal populations.
- They are beautiful spaces that teach us to value nature and to rejoice the spirit.
Biodiversity management involves caring for the various species of fauna and flora that are in danger of extinction, mainly due to the alteration of natural environments. There are several nature tourism activities that promote the care of ecosystems, but we can list some relevant ones such as:
- Control and avoid excesses that tourists may commit that could damage or disturb the flora and fauna.
- Guarantee the development of activities with low noise emissions so as not to affect the natural environment.
- Adopt measures to ensure that the lighting of constructed areas does not affect wildlife, tourists, or the local community.
- Educate on integrated fire management to reduce human-caused forest fires.
- Do not support or promote the keeping of wild animals in captivity, except in cases of species rescue or reintroduction.
In La Guajira, we have several natural areas and natural parks of our own and adjacent to the territory, among which we highlight the following:
1.Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park.
2.The Tayrona Natural Park is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
3.Macuira National Natural Park in Alta Guajira.
4.Los Flamencos Flora and Fauna Sanctuary. Corregimiento de Camarones.
5.Montes de Oca Natural Reserve. Middle Guajira.
6.Serranía del Perijá regional natural park, which includes municipalities such as Manaure in
La Guajira and La Paz and Agustin Codazzi in the department of Cesar.