Sustainable páramos: Upcoming efforts in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru
With the objective of promoting sustainable management of the páramos, the project “Communities of the Páramo: Strengthening Capacities and Coordination for Climate-Change Adaptation” will be implemented by the Mountain Institute (Peru), Fundación Tropenbos (Colombia) and Ecociencia (Ecuador) under the coordination of IUCN South America (IUCN-Sur) and with the support of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The páramos are a neo-tropical, high-altitude eco-region located along the Andean mountain range in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. They extend from above the tree line to the permanent snow line (between 3,200 and 5,000 meters above sea level) and show a distribution similar to an archipelago. They cover an estimated area of 35,770 km2.
The páramo ecosystem is of critical importance to millions of rural and urban people and serves a multitude of purposes and values: It offers habitat for endemic species, provides essential ecosystem services (primarily water supply), and is the location of important cultural sites and a symbol of social identity.
The direct beneficiaries of the project will be the local communities that live in and around the páramos in selected sites in the three countries. These local communities are mostly composed of indigenous people and peasants.
Planned activities include improvement of capacities and knowledge for local actors and planners; implementation and diffusion of local practices for sustainable management of the páramo; promotion of policies to support climate-change adaptation at the local, national and regional levels; and support for páramo conservation and management through effective land use and ecosystem-based planning.
Aracely Pazmiño, IUCN-Sur Senior Officer for Social Equity and Governance, assures that this initiative seeks to advance regional coordination of páramo management; to include actions of past experiences but also to innovate processes that offer options for sustainable management; and to contribute to livelihoods of the populations of the páramo.