The Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta Biosphere Reserve is located in northern Colombia and contains one of the largest coastal wetlands in Latin America. It comprises Isla de Salamanca National Natural Park as well as the Flora and Fauna Sanctuary of the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta.
Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta Biosphere Reserve
The Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta Biosphere Reserve is near the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Biosphere Reserve in northern Colombia.
Ciénaga Grande is one of Latin America's most extensive coastal wetlands, including coral reefs and mangroves.
The Biosphere Reserve's total surface area is 493,150 ha (1,218,600 acres). Isla de Salamanca National Park serves as the core zone. The Reserve also includes the Flora and Fauna Sanctuary of the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta.
The Biosphere Reserve lies at the interface between fresh and brackish water, shallow bays and deeper coastal waters, thus creating a complex of habitats supporting a high diversity of flora and fauna.
The alluvial prairies of recent origin inside the primitive delta of the Magdalena River include mud banks type formations, lagoons and channels with significant mangrove associations, saw grass marshes and flooded and non-flooded forests.
Some 200 people live in the Ciénaga Biosphere Reserve, engaged in fisheries, cattle grazing, banana and African palm plantations, and horticulture. These practices have affected some hydrologic ecosystems with agrochemicals and the discharge of toxic substances.
Around 1950, the road Ciénaga-Barranquilla was constructed, affecting the interface between the Magdalena River and the mangroves and marshes complexes, causing extreme variations in the extensive wetland ecosystem. The hyper-salinization of lagoons and soils provoked the extinction of vast mangrove forests and swamps.
A project has been implemented to recuperate the coastal hydrosphere's hydrologic equilibrium and local populations' socio-economic conditions and to launch institutional development since 1994. As a result, some mangrove ecosystem sites started being recuperated with local participation and scientific support.
Isla de Salamanca National Natural Park
Isla de Salamanca National Natural Park is a protected area on Colombia's Caribbean coast. It covers a large expanse of mangroves, marshes, and wetlands and serves as the core zone of the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta Biosphere Reserve.
Located in the Caribbean Region of Colombia, on the eastern outskirts of Barranquilla in the Magdalena Department, Isla de Salamanca National Natural Park is an essential habitat for various bird species and serves as a sanctuary for wildlife.
Flora and fauna are abundant because of the confluence of freshwater flowing from the Magdalena River and saline water from the Caribbean Sea. Mangrove forests, tropical dry forests, and riparian forests cover most of the area.
Mangroves cover a third of the area, and the three predominant species are red mangrove, black mangrove, white mangrove, and buttonwood.
The National Park has abundant wildlife, many endangered. Wildlife includes 33 species of mammals, 98 species of invertebrates, nine species of amphibians, 35 species of reptiles, more than 140 fish species, and 199 birds, many of which are migratory, endemic, and residents.