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Integrated Management of the Microbasins and Protected Natural Areas in the municipality of Armenia

Armenia
Colombia

 

The city of Armenia is located on a water system consisting of 18 microbasins that have the status of a protected area. The area is under pressure from various sources due to land use conflicts that have led to forest fragmentation and a reduction in habitat and food for wildlife.

The Municipality of Armenia Microbasins and Protected Urban Areas Integrated Zoning and Management Plan was designed in response to this problem. This was a plan for ecological connectivity that aimed to create 27 conservation corridors across the urban area of the municipality of Armenia; to incorporate the concept of connectivity in the municipality's zoning plans; and to integrate the community into the ecological restoration process of the protected areas.

The design and creation of the corridor was a participatory, consensus-based process involving consultation and institutional coordination. In order to achieve it, various activities were carried out with each type of vegetation: forest enrichment with native species, enrichment of bogland, and reforestation of pastures and edge areas with lines of trees and gardens as buffer zones. The Urban Environmental School was a key element in ensuring the involvement and assimilation of the connectivity process by the community and the participating institutions.

Given that it is an initiative from civil society, the main challenge has been to obtain the commitment of the municipal government, which was finally enshrined in several legal documents. First, the Territorial Zoning Plan and the Municipal Protected Urban Areas System included the microbasins as protected land and strategic areas of the municipality. Subsequently, while the conservation corridors were being established, the city's Environmental Management Plan was developed. This guaranteed the municipal government's commitment by including the concept of structural connectivity.

In addition, the individual consultation process with the actors for the establishment of the corridor highlighted the need for an ongoing awareness-raising exercise to make the policy sustainable.