Environmental Law


– Tatamá National Natural Park (Colombia) –
Tatamá, Colombia

Conservation value and special characteristics

Located in a transition zone between the Andes and the Colombian Biogeographic Pacific Area, Tatamá National Natural Park is a unique site of high scientific interest, home to many endemic species, including amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, orchids and birds.  It is also home to four collective territories of indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities, who co-manage the Park under a shared governance framework. Created in 1987, Tatamá is one of the first sites to be included in the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas. Tatamá has two important watersheds; indeed, its name means “the grandfather of the river”.


Tatamá National Park is facing several conservation challenges. Gold mining, agricultural activities, and infrastructure development, particularly roads, pose a critical threat. Mass movement into the area and unregulated entry and development of houses, military bases, and electrical lines create additional problems.


Because of its legal framework for biodiversity offsets and compensation, Colombia is in a strong position to develop habitat banks and other biodiversity payment schemes. Carbon credits and REDD schemes are possible. Sustainable production of local and traditional products (handicrafts, traditional clothes and jewellery) based on traditional ecosystem management practices could provide economic benefits to local communities as well as a potential source of revenue for the Park.  There is potential for further development of community-led ecotourism in the area. Fees could be attached to projects developing electricity and communication infrastructure in the area. Hybrid systems could link social investments with habitat banking and low carbon community enterprises and tourism projects.


INC is working with WWF Colombia and Terrasos to analyse options, undertake a feasibility analysis with different stakeholders, and identify the most promising mechanisms that allow the long-term sustainability of the park. Among the mechanisms that are being analysed are: REDD+ projects, water funds, national taxes, environmental offsets, payment for ecosystem services and swap for debt. In order to select the most suitable mechanisms, each of them is being assessed with a set of technical, financial and legal criteria. This process is being developed with the input of national, regional and local stakeholders.

Once the mechanisms are prioritized a business plan for the park will be developed. The business plan aims to stablish a roadmap for the deployment of the actions needed to optimize the economic resources that the park needs in order to comply with its management plan. The roadmap will include a selection of the mechanisms that are easy to develop with the current resources and limitations that the park has, but also, the immediacy and the tools that are needed for its implementation. Partners will work to engage private investors and stakeholders in designing and realizing the mechanisms selected.

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