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Article

How to Protect Free Flowing Rivers: The Bita River Ramsar Site as an Example of Science and Management Tools Working Together

1
Conservation and Governance Department, WWF Colombia, Cali 760033, Colombia
2
Omacha Foundation, Bogotá 111211, Colombia
3
WWF US, Washington, DC 20037, USA
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School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch 7602, South Africa
5
KnowlEdge Srl, 21057 Olgiate Olona, Italy
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Integration and Application Network—University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD 21613, USA
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Forest, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Direction, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Bogotá 110311, Colombia
8
Environment Planning Sub-Direction, Corporinoquia, Yopal 850001, Colombia
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1775; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041775
Received: 1 December 2020 / Revised: 12 January 2021 / Accepted: 12 January 2021 / Published: 7 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Durable Protections for Free-Flowing Rivers)
The Orinoco river basin is the third largest river in the world by volume. Its catchment encompasses 27 major sub-basins including the Bita with a catchment area of about 825,000 ha, which originates in the Colombian high plains in the Llanos ecoregion. It has been recognized as a priority area for conservation through different gap analyses and overall determined to have good health according to the Orinoco report card 2016. The natural climate and hydrologic processes, and their synergies with flooded forests, savannas, wetlands, species diversity and local economic activities, are part of a dynamic and sensitive system. With the purpose of conserving the ecological, social and cultural benefits that it brings, the Colombian Government, with the support of regional and local civil society organizations, promoted the designation of a conservation area. Technical exercises were carried out including biological and socioeconomic surveys, local stakeholder consultations and future scenario modeling. In June 2018, the Bita River basin was designated as the largest Ramsar site in Colombia, providing a worldwide example of explicit protection of riverine systems. In order to maintain this free-flowing river, land use and fisheries management, in conjunction with other conservation actions, are being implemented and provide a model of protection for freshwater ecosystems that could be replicated elsewhere. View Full-Text
Keywords: free-flowing; freshwater; Ramsar; conservation free-flowing; freshwater; Ramsar; conservation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Suárez, C.F.; Paez-Vasquez, M.; Trujillo, F.; Usma, J.S.; Thieme, M.; Bassi, A.M.; Naranjo, L.G.; Costanzo, S.; Manrique, O.; Pallaske, G.; Flechas, J. How to Protect Free Flowing Rivers: The Bita River Ramsar Site as an Example of Science and Management Tools Working Together. Sustainability 2021, 13, 1775. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041775

AMA Style

Suárez CF, Paez-Vasquez M, Trujillo F, Usma JS, Thieme M, Bassi AM, Naranjo LG, Costanzo S, Manrique O, Pallaske G, Flechas J. How to Protect Free Flowing Rivers: The Bita River Ramsar Site as an Example of Science and Management Tools Working Together. Sustainability. 2021; 13(4):1775. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041775

Chicago/Turabian Style

Suárez, Cesar F., Monica Paez-Vasquez, Fernando Trujillo, Jose S. Usma, Michele Thieme, Andrea M. Bassi, Luis G. Naranjo, Simon Costanzo, Oscar Manrique, Georg Pallaske, and Javier Flechas. 2021. "How to Protect Free Flowing Rivers: The Bita River Ramsar Site as an Example of Science and Management Tools Working Together" Sustainability 13, no. 4: 1775. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041775

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