SAVIND THE CLOUD FORESTS OF COLOMBIA

Colombia's Western Andes is a very special place – At least 70 percent is cloud forests and the rest is grasslands. About a sixth of the world’s biodiversity – perhaps two million species of plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms – can be found in the region. Remarkably, only about 10 percent have been identified. But, like coral reefs and glaciers, it is among the most vulnerable to the dual impacts of climate change and human population pressures. As our planet’s climate systems continue to be altered, it is very likely that some or many of the species found in cloud forests will be lost forever. The forests have become fragmented and degraded as agriculture moves up the mountainside and penetrates deeper into the lowlands, encroaching on the solitude. Sadly, the effects of climate change are already apparent here. As a result, many cloud forest species have started to migrate upslope to maintain a favorable climate. However, their routes are often blocked by a degraded and fragmented landscape. Saving Nature is working with the Hummingbird Conservancy to protect, connect, and restore the most important areas for biodiversity. In doing so, we’ll help create a large protected area for endemic and threatened species from the east and west. Restoring the forest from degraded land will also soak up a lot of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — this is a warm, wet place where trees grow quickly. By the same token, heavy rainfall on steep mountain slopes means these areas erode quickly once they lose their forests.

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