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Conservation of Corals in the Colombian Caribbean

  • Gisella S. Cruz-GarciaEmail author
  • Paul J. E. Peters
Chapter
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Part of the Ethnobiology book series (EBL)

Abstract

The Colombian Caribbean possesses one of the most biodiverse marine areas in South America, but there is a high coral loss in this region through bleaching, unsustainable fishing practices, coral mining, uncontrolled tourism and sedimentation, among other natural and human-related causes. The aim of this chapter is to portray the ethnobiology of coral conservation in the Colombian Caribbean, by reflecting on the evolution of how scientific research incorporates and contributes to the understanding of the relationships between people and corals in coastal societies. This chapter documents the most common threats affecting corals in the Colombian Caribbean, examines research conducted on coral ecosystems in the region, and presents an overview of major local conservation efforts aimed at countering coral degradation and loss, with a major focus on the participation of local stakeholders. For that, a review of all publications available online on coral conservation in the Caribbean region of Colombia (n = 33) and main institutions working on coral conservation in the region (n = 20) was conducted.

Results show that most studies were mainly focused on the environmental and ecological aspects of corals, with few addressing the relationships between corals and people, i.e., only since 2007 were local stakeholders included as part of research on coral conservation. Research studies involved on average 1.7 different stakeholders per publication, including scientists, local communities (e.g., fishermen), tourists and divers, GOs, NGOs, Marine Protected Area (MPA) staff, and the private sector. Contrary to most studies addressing coastal communities as threats to coral conservation, there is an increasing body of research reinforcing the need of having a more people-centered approach to coral conservation.

The analysis of local conservation initiatives has shown that environmental education efforts, for instance through music festivals, children programs, coral gardening courses, workshops for tourists, schools, and fishermen, and involvement of local residents in coral restoration activities, are essential components of conservation. The studies and initiatives documented for the Colombian Caribbean exemplified how environmental education efforts aimed at reconnecting local people to nature in coastal societies play a key role for coral conservation.

Keywords

Coral Colombian Caribbean Conservation Stakeholders Review 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gisella S. Cruz-Garcia
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Paul J. E. Peters
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.International Center for Tropical AgricultureCaliColombia
  2. 2.Botanical Research Institute of Texas1700 University DriveFort WorthUSA
  3. 3.Wageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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