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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Biosphere Reserve and National Park overlook the Caribbean coast of northern Colombia. Most of the Reserve (675,000 hectares) lies in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the remaining 56,250 hectares comprises Tayrona National Park. The area stretches from the Caribbean coast with a finely preserved coral reef, extensive beaches, several bays and inlets up to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta with marked relief and steep slopes. Independent of the Andean chain, it rises to a height of 5,775 meters above sea level, at a distance of only 42 km from the Caribbean coast. The snowy peaks called ’tundra‘ are considered sacred. Vegetation ranges from sub-hygrophyte to snow levels and includes cloud forest and high barren plains. Three types of vegetation can be seen at Tayrona’s National Park: forest/matorral with dry forest and humid forest. Some of them are being modified by peasants engaged in agriculture and cattle grazing, and also extraction of high-value timber, especially in the coffee belt. Of the estimated population of 211,000 (1999) some 26,500 indigenous peoples, particularly the Arhuaco, Kogui and Wiwa live in indigenous reserves, but also a considerable number live outside these areas. Ethnic groups try to develop a policy for the recovery of their ancestral lands in order to strengthen their culture and assist their traditional conservation practices . There is no management policy of the reserve as a whole and the zonation is not clear. However, scientific diagnosis and technical assessments have contributed to the elaboration of a sustainable development plan with programmes in the Sierra Nevada National Park, in agro-ecology, fish-farming and environmental health. The area is of great archaeological value particularly with sites as the ’Ciudad Perdida‘ and many artifacts of Tayrona culture.
  Major ecosystem type   Tropical dry or deciduous forests; Mixed mountain and highland (mountains tropical and xerophytic forest and paramo)
  Major habitats & land cover types   Tropical humid forest; tropical dry forest; highland forest; dry shrubs forests; paramos; permanent snow areas; glaciers; agroecosystems
  Location   10°01' to 11°20'N; 72°36' to 74°13'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   2,115,800
  Core area(s)   405,000
  Buffer zone(s)  
  Transition area(s) when given   1,710,800
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   0 to +5,879
  Year designated   1979
  Administrative authorities   Unidad Administrativa Especial del Sistema de Parques Nacionales Naturales, Resguardo Indígena Kogui y Arhuaco, y CORPOCESAR, CORPOGUAJIRA Y CORPAMAG

Last updated: 27/03/2011

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