A classification system for Colombian wetlands: An essential step forward in open environmental policy-making

Luisa Fernanda Ricaurte, Jorge E. Patiño, Diego Fernando Restrepo Zambrano, Juan Carlos Arias-G, Oscar Acevedo, Cesar Aponte, Ruth Medina, Mauricio González, Sergio Rojas, Carlos Flórez, Lina M. Estupinan-Suarez, Úrsula Jaramillo, Ana Carolina Santos, Carlos A. Lasso, Andrés Alberto Duque Nivia, Santiago Restrepo Calle, Jaime Ignacio Vélez, José Humberto Caballero Acosta, Santiago R. Duque, Marcela Núñez-AvellanedaIván Darío Correa, Jenny Alexandra Rodríguez-Rodríguez, Sandra P. Vilardy Q, Adriana Prieto-C, Agustín Rudas-Ll, Antoine M. Cleef, C. Max Finlayson, Wolfgang J. Junk

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    Knowledge about the distribution and diversity of wetlands has become an essential tool for environmental management and policy-making. Yet, while recent estimates indicate that 27% of the area of Colombia is covered by wetlands and despite a number of regional studies, information about the diversity of wetlands nationally is scarce. In response, we present a national wetland classification system that is based on an ecological approach, from the perspective of wetland scientists, and which builds upon the assumptions underlying the flood pulse concept and hydrogeomorphic approach. Thus, the approach and structure of the Brazilian wetland classification system are used, with geomorphological adjustments made according to Colombia’s topography. The classification is hierarchical, multi-scale, functional, and organized according to four levels (system, macroregion, subsystem, and class), with the wetland diversity of Colombia represented nationally by 89 macrohabitats across marine-coastal, inland, and anthropogenic systems. The primary purpose of this classification is to provide integrated and organized information on the distribution and diversity of Colombian wetlands that will serve as a baseline for transparent environmental policy-making.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)971-990
    Number of pages20
    Early online date25 Apr 2019
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


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