On Northern part of South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea


National websites

Colombian Government Trade Bureau

Colombia: Ministry of Health (in Spanish)

Colombia: INVIMA  (in Spanish)

Colombia: Ministry of Agriculture (in Spanish)


Embassy / Chancery in U.S.

2118 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008

Agencies responsible for biological inventory and conservation

Minister for the Environment
Calle 16 No. 6-66 Piso, 3, 4, 30 y 31
Edificio Avianca
Santafé de Bogota

Non-governmental organizations concerned with conservation

See Colombia Country Report for a list of some non-governmental organizations


EnviroLink Library -- Fundación Natura Colombia


NIPR: Country Briefings: The Economics of Industrial Pollution Control research team

International Centre of Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Latin American Federation of Young Environmentalists



Major Natural Resources

Colombiafs natural resources include petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds.  The country contains forests of the Northern Andes (also in Peru and Ecuador), which is one of the Earth's biologically richest forests.  Forty-nine percent of Colombiafs total land mass is covered by forests that house 10 percent of the world's biodiversity[1]Colombia is the second most diverse country in terms of species per land unit.  This biodiversity holds great scenic and cultural value, but more importantly, has potential medicinal value.  Furthermore, the diversity gis the basis for all ecological relations that result in the balance of regional ecosystems and the world climate.h (Colombia Country Program) 

Major Environmental and Conservation Issues

Road constrution and colonization have decreased Colombiafs forests significantly.  The countryfs quest to expand itfs economy has led to deforestation at a rate of 1.5 to 2.2 milllion acres a year.  Its largest exports contribute to deforestation and given the current rate, it is estimated that Colombiafs forests will be depleted in 40 years (see Deforestation in Colombia Case).  However, according to the World Resources Institute, Colombia is leading the Latin American countries in taking action: gOnly Venezuela and Colombia have strongly restricted logging, mining, and other extractive activities, and Venezuela may soon buckle under severe economic pressure to exploit its rich natural resourcesh (see Last Frontier Forests: Regional Overview: South America).  Another problem in Colombia is pollution due to pesticides, especially an herbicide called Tebuthiuron--in fact, this is such a great concern that even Dow Agro Sciences has joined efforts to prevent itfs misuse (see Dow Chemical joins the effort to spike pesticide in Colombia).  Colombia also suffers from air pollution, especially in Bogota, where vehicle emissions can be easily trapped by mountains.   Also, pollution from sewages has made water from Bogota River not only unfit for drinking, but also cleaning.  The United States and Colombia have combined their efforts in the U.S.-COLOMBIA ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECT.


Information Sources

Land area

1,038,700 sq km


Area of forest

100,210 sq km

Click here for a map of Forests in South America

Area of wetlands

Nearly ¼ of Colombiafs national territory is comprised of the Amazonian region, which is described as ga vast complex of wetlands.h

Appeal on Bogota wetlands


Wetlands in South America (scroll down to Case Study 4) 

Area of territorial waters

100,210 sq km





Population Density

~37 persons/ sq. km


Area protected (ha) (only areas >1000ha) at all IUCN levels

1,138,915 sq km

 World Conservation Monitoring Centre - Protected Areas Information, search for Colombia

Fraction of land area protected (%)



Major Protected Areas

List of Major Protected Areas

Information Center for the Environment


Endemic Species
















World Resources 1996-97 Data Query

(numbers are from 1990)


Birding in Colombia

Endangered, Threatened and Vulnerable Species















Complete Plant Listing

World Conservation Monitoring Centre - Animal 

World Conservation Monitoring Centre - Plants

Extinct Species















Complete Plant Listing

World Conservation Monitoring Centre - Animal 

World Conservation Monitoring Centre - Plants

Species listed on CITES Appendix I

44 Species in Colombia

CITES-listed Species Database (Click on Fauna, search for All-CITES, Appendix I, Colombia, for a list of these 44 species.)

Species listed on CITES Appendix II

378 Species in Colombia

CITES-listed Species Database

(Search for Fauna, All-CITES, Appendix II, Colombia, for a list of these 378 species)


Laws protecting endangered or threatened species

Protecting Biodiversity in Colombia: New Laws to Shield Old Traditions

Colombia Country Program: Extended Overview

gColombia has put the concept of sustainable development into its new Constitutional Charterh

gIn Colombia, several regulations were passed as part of the National Code on Renewable Resources and Environmental Protection, including decrees on hydrobiological resources (1978) and the use of marine resources (1979).h

ga comprehensive environmental plan was published in August 1991, and a Tropical Forestry Action Program has been in operation since 1989h (Policy Responses and Directions: Latin America and the Caribbean: National Initiatives)

Also, the government has enacted programs to charge taxes for pollution: Policy Research Bulletin vol.9, No.2 and click on link to article entitled gColombiafs Pollution Charge System: Implementation, Impact, and Implicationsh

Laws protecting endangered ecosystems

Click here if youfd like to know more about Environmental policy for Colombia

Signatory to CITES

1991 (see CITES Parties)

Signatory to Ramsar Wetlands Convention

Ratified in 1998 -- Click here to see National Report of Colombia for COP7, 1999

Signatory to Convention on Biological Diversity 

Ratified in 1994

Signatory to Migratory Bird Treaty


Member of International Whaling Commission

Not a member: International Whaling Commission

Signatory to other international treaties designed to protect or manage biological resources

Multilateral Treaties Status Matrix for Colombia

Natural Resource Use

Information Sources


 Click on the link on the right for more information, including a table of statistics.

 Latin American Economic System


 See gMajor Environmental Issuesh and gTrade in Wildlife Productsh

 Deforestation in Colombia Case


The Tropical Lowland Forests of the Choco-Colombia



Tambito Nature Reserves--Ornithological Expedition  


Click on the link for a related article 

COLOMBIA: Ecotourism Trapped Between Biodiversity and Insecurity


Trade in wildlife products

Coca and poppy, both harmful to the environment, are exported illegally.  the primary exporter of processed cocaine products is Colombia.  Primary importers of processed cocaine are the United States, Western Europe, Japan, and more ecently Eastern Europe.


Colombia's four largest legal exports are oil, cut flowers,

coffee, and bananas, all of which contribute to deforestation.


gColombia is currently exporting oils produced from organically grown plants with an environmentally conscious Belgian soap manufacturer called Ecover.  Because such trade is considered eco-friendly, Colombia has been granted
exemption from EC import duties on these products (French, 107).h (See Deforestation in Colombia Case)
Colombia is the third largest Latin American exporter of oil to the United States.
Colombia also clears forests and uses pesticides to grow roses, and the boxes of flowers are used to traffic drugs to the United States.

Colombia Coca Trade


Coca, Trade and Environment


Colombia Oil Exports


Rose Trade and the Environment


Colombia Flower Exports


 Hunting of Chachalacas in Colombia


Other uses of natural resources



Human Impacts on Natural Resources

Information Sources

Air pollution

Use of pesticides in cultivation of coca and poppy


Vehicle emissions in mountain-ringed Bogota

 See links under gTrade in wildlife productsh

Water pollution

Dumping of Polyvinyl Chloride from U.S. exports


Development activities

Deforestation due to road construction (see top of page, Environmental Summary)


Introduced species


Database on Introductions of Aquatic Species - Search Form

Legislation addressing these issues





--it has been against the law to grow coca or poppy and to make cocaine or heroine since 1947

 Colombia Coca Trade

Restoration and Reintroduction

Information Sources

Programs for restoration of damaged habitat 



Programs for ex situ conservation (captive breeding and reintroduction) of endangered species



Return to Endangered Species Protection around the World

Page compiled by Sana Ahmedani as part of a class project in h90 "The Science of Biodiversity and Conservation" (Peter J. Bryant, Instructor), University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697, USA