Why are we a Biosphere Reserve?
The Seaflower Biosphere Reserve (RBSF) understands the totality of the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina (Colombia). This is the only island department in Colombia: it is the northern border of the country and is located in the southwestern Caribbean Sea, east of the Central American coast. The three islands make up ten coral atolls and several banks.
For its size, (180,000 km2), Seaflower Biosphere Reserve is more than 6% of the total area of the Caribbean Sea. It is equivalent to 15.7% of Colombia's land territory and accounts for 19.3 % of the territorial waters of that nation (34% share in the Colombian Caribbean Sea). Over 75% of Colombian coral areas are in Seaflower. Its biological wealth is represented by:
- 400 species of fish
- 157 species of birds (including migratory, resident and endemic birds)
- 170 species of macroalgae
- 130 species of marine sponges
- 45 species of hard coral
- 54 species of soft coral
- 66 species of invertebrates (including lobster, snails, starfish, etc.)
- 4 of the 7 species of sea turtles in the world
Three of the most important marine ecosystems are present: coral reefs, seagrass beds, and beaches and dunes. In addition, this region contributes to the cultural wealth of the country, especially its unique Raizal native population.
In November 2000, UNESCO declared the entire archipelago as a member of its World Network of Biosphere Reserves, because it meets the criteria of the agency:
a) It has high biodiversity
b) offers possibilities for testing and demonstration of sustainable development with active participation of the people
c) Has sufficient importance for conservation
d) has administrative capacity to implement the zoning and management plan.
More information on www.biosferaseaflower.org