To Unesco home page

To sitemap

To MAB home page title2.gif (2287 bytes)
      Biosphere Reserve Information



© Photo: Proyecto Prociénaga - GTZ
  General Description   The Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta Biosphere Reserve is located in the northern part of Colombia, not far from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Biosphere Reserve. Ciénaga Grande is one of the largest coastal wetlands in Latin America, including both coral reefs and mangroves. It comprises Isla de Salamanca National Park, and the Flora and Fauna Sanctuary of the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta. The site lies at the interface between fresh and brackish water, shallow bays and deeper coastal waters thus creating a complex of habitats supporting a high diversity of flora and fauna. The alluvial prairies of recent origin inside the primitive delta of the Magdalena River include mud banks type formations, lagoons and channels with large mangrove associations, saw grass marshes and flooded and non-flooded forests. Some 200 people live in the Ciénaga Biosphere Reserve, engaged in fisheries, cattle grazing, banana and African palm plantations, and horticulture. These practices had affected some hydrologic ecosystems with agrochemicals, and the discharge of toxic substances. Around 1950 the road Ciénaga-Barranquilla was constructed, affecting the interface between the Magdalena River and the mangroves and marshes complexes, causing serious variations in the big wetland ecosystem. The hyper-salinization of lagoons and soils provoked the extinction of large mangrove forests and marshes. A project to recuperate the hydrologic equilibrium of the coastal hydrosphere, the socio-economic conditions of local populations and to launch institutional development, has been implemented since 1994. As a result some mangrove ecosystems sites start being recuperated with local participation, and scientific support. Potential areas for economic development are fisheries and small-scale tourism.
  Major ecosystem type   Coastal wetlands with freshwater, brackish and saline components; coral reefs and mangroves
  Major habitats & land cover types   Very dry tropical forest with Bursera simaruba, Libidibia coriaria, Bombacopsis quinata etc.; tropical dry forest characterized by Chlorophora tinctoria, Ficus pinoides, Pithecelobium dulce etc.; mangroves including Rhizophora mangle, Avicennia germinans, Laguncularia racemosa, Conocarpus erectus etc; wetlands (ciénagas); sandy bottoms; beaches; coral reefs with Cladophora spp., Caulerpa mexicana, C. prolifera, Codium isthmocladum etc.; agroecosystems; banana and African palm plantations; charcoal production; residential areas.
  Location   10°44'N; 74°30'W (central point)
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   493,150
  Core area(s)   83,000 (of which marine: 29,000)
  Buffer zone(s)   140,700 (of which marine: 31,200)
  Transition area(s) when given   269,450 (of which marine: 44,550)
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   -40 to +100
  Year designated   2000
  Administrative authorities   Consejo Directivo de la reserva de biosfera del CLCGSM. Presidido por la Corporación Autónoma Regional del Magdalena - CORPAMAG
  Brief description   Meteorological monitoring
Physical and chemical parameters monitoring of water bodies
Heavy metal concentration monitoring
Contamination of organochlorides
Investigations of mangrove and lagoon systems to determine the natural conditions that structure these ecosystems and what effect human activities have on their equilibrium
Research on mangrove species such as Rhizophora mangle,
Avicennia germinans and Laguncularia racemosa
Ecosystem studies in water bodies
Monitoring of biotic variables to see what effect human constructions have on certain areas in the biosphere reserve
Characterization of fisheries
Study on institutional aspects and the effects of socio-economic changes on the environmental problems of the biosphere reserve
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Abiotic factors, contaminants, heavy metals, meteorology, monitoring/methodologies.
  Biodiversity   Ecosystem functioning/Ecosystem structure, lagoon systems, mangrove, methodologies, plants.
  Socio-economic   Fishery/Fisheries, social/socio-economic aspects.
  Integrated monitoring   Impact and risk studies/Environmental impact, institutional and legal aspects.
  Contact address   María Danies
Av. del Libertador No. 32 - Barrio Tayrona
 Santa Marta
  Telephone   (57.5) 421 3089
  Fax   (57.5) 421 3089
  Web site

Last updated: 27/03/2011

To topTo MAB home pageTo UNESCO