Fundación ProAves – por la conservación en el país de las aves

The plight of Polylepis forests in Colombia exposed

1 March, 2011


Monday 19 October 2009.

This document is a basic input that will serve as a tool for establishing the guidelines for preserving, protecting and restoring forests of Polylepis in Colombia.

The Polylepis genus includes 25 species distributed throughout the Andean region from Venezuela to northern Argentina and Chile, and its importance is that they are ecosystems that contain a unique fauna and flora, characterized by high levels of endemism generally altitudinal distribution ranges from 3400 m. and in some exceptional cases up to 5200 m. in Bolivia, in many cases these habitats are sanctuaries for birds in critical danger of extinction and a large bank of genetic resources and a conservation target.

Unfortunately, these high mountain forests also represent one of the most vulnerable ecosystems with less than 3% of the original coverage due to the heavy pressures that they are continuously subjected to, either by logging, fire, overgrazing or by extending the agricultural boundaries.


This edition of the Conservación Colombiana journal, is in recognition of the importance of these forests for the survival of other species of wildlife, especially birds and their current vulnerability that has motivated the creation of the component “Polylepis” within the project “Conserving biodiversity of the tropical Andes”, funded by American Bird Conservancy, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Comunidad Andina and with the cooperation of ECOAN.

This component aims at combining efforts of all the Andean countries, with ProAves the representative in Colombia, to propose specific strategies for the conservation of these ecosystems. The current goal is aimed at the identification of priority forests for conservation at the regional level.

With the support of:

abc Comunidad_andina