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Protecting the Rarest Magnolias in the Andes of Colombia

Colombia

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  • Critically Endangered Ventanas Magnolia. Photo by SalvaMontes Corporation

The Alto de Ventanas ecoregion in Colombia contains some of the highest levels of endemic and threatened species in the country’s Antioquia district. Home to numerous imperiled animals and plants – including rare magnolias and orchids – this region is threatened by the continuous fragmentation of forests, primarily resulting from livestock farming and the creation of new pastures.

Rainforest Trust and partner SalvaMontes Corporation are working to expand Selva de Ventanas Natural Reserve by 120 acres. This is a vital component of the strategic network of biological corridors being created to connect remaining forest fragments. This proposed expansion contains 32 percent of the global population of Ventanas Magnolia (Magnolia polyhypsophylla), the most endangered tree species in the region with only 25 adult individuals known in the world. It is urgent that properties available for sale which strategically link this biological corridor be purchased for conservation efforts instead of being auctioned for farming purposes.

Biodiversity

  • Lepanthes culex. Photo by SalvaMontes Corporation

The proposed expansion of Selva de Ventanas Natural Reserve contains 32 percent of the global population of the Critically Endangered Ventanas Magnolia, which is considered to be the most threatened tree species in the region. This area is also home to seven bird species, one amphibian species and 26 plant species, 13 of which are species of orchids with at least two considered to be new to science (from the genus Lepanthes). The Critically Endangered Handley’s Slender Mouse Opossum is likely to be found in the proposed expansion, as it was recently collected just 1 kilometer from the site. It is also suspected that a Critically Endangered frog species (Niceforonia adenobrachia) also occurs in this area.

Challenges

  • Livestock. Photo by CIAT/ Flickr

The greatest threat to the biodiversity in this region is the continuous fragmentation of forests, primarily resulting from livestock farming and the creation of new pastures. It is urgent that properties available for sale which strategically link a vital biological corridor be purchased for conservation efforts instead of being auctioned for farming purposes.

Communities

  • Community education initiative. Photo by SalvaMontes Corporation

Our local partner will engage in community outreach and environmental education programs to promote the creation of nature reserves and consolidation of biological corridors in the region of Alto de Ventanas. One of these channels will be through municipal boards that will provide educational material about environmental initiatives to the nearby urban population.

 Solutions

  • Environmental protection in the Alto de Ventanas region. Photo by SalvaMontes Corporation

Rainforest Trust is supporting our partner’s expansion of Selva de Ventanas Natural Reserve by 120 acres. This expansion will greatly contribute to the creation of a protected biological corridor, with the goal of safeguarding 2,471 acres by 2020. Programs will be established to reintroduce plant species such as the Critically Endangered Ventanas Magnolia and Endangered Yarumal Magnolia, and the creation of a commercial nursery of native and ornamental species will help financially support the management of the reserve.