Effectiveness of community based agreements for forest conservation in the Colombian Andes

Authors: ANGELA MEJIA*, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY, VICTOR GUTIERREZ-VELEZ, Assistant Professor, department of Geography and Urban Studies, Temple University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Topics: Protected Areas, Land Use and Land Cover Change, Coupled Human and Natural Systems
Keywords: Protected areas, community agreements, land cover changes, remote sensing, Andean forest
Session Type: Virtual Lightning Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 28
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Serranía de San Lucas is a key biodiversity area located in the Magdalena Medio region, in the south of the Bolivar Department in Colombia. This megadiverse habitat is covered by one of the last and most conserved relicts of Andean forest in the country. However, this important zone is not represented in the National Protected Area System (RUNAP). In response to the forest conservation needs, local communities, organized as a peasant association, created in 1993 a community agreement to protect a 70,000 ha forest area under the name of “Línea Amarilla”. Despite the high potential of community based strategies for forest conservation, the results of that agreement remain to be evaluated. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of La Línea Amarilla agreement for forest conservation. To achieve this goal, we evaluated land cover changes between 1993, when the La Línea Amarilla agreement was implemented and currently (2020). For that purpose, we performed a supervised classification using images from the Landsat 5 and 8 satellite missions. We used these results to compare changes in forest cover within La Linea Amarilla boundaries and outside of it and used them to assess the effectiveness of the “La linea amarilla” agreement for forest conservation. We found that the proportion forest loss inside the La Línea Amarilla was lower than outside of it. These results suggest that local community based agreements can be an effective bottom-up strategy for forest conservation.

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