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Eng
domingo, 29 de marzo 2020
29/03/2020
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Endemic species discovered in areas adjacent to reservoirs in Colombia

By Carlos Olimpo Restrepo
Translation by José López


The research is part of a $15 billion pesos project called Integral Management of Biodiversity and its Ecosystem Services in basins of interest for Electricity Generation signed in 2017 between the University of Antioquia and EPM, Colombia’s largest utility company.

UdeA rector John Jairo Arboleda, and Jorge Londoño de la Cuesta, CEO of EPM, highlighted the discovery at a meeting held to evaluate the results of the agreement that seeks to preserve biodiversity and ecosystems in areas adjacent to EPM-run reservoirs.

“This study has yielded important results as the team of UdeA researchers, composed mainly of PhD and Master’s degree graduates, discovered a number of undescribed species of flora and fauna, a major achievement in terms of biodiversity”, Arboleda said.

EPM CEO Londoño de la Cuesta added that “this agreement has also allowed to conduct more robust research on the behavior of little studied species. In addition, we will be able to find out what species inhabit these ecosystems and conduct in-depth studies in order to determine the best way to preserve them”.

“Explorations resulted in the finding of new plant and bird species in areas such as Anorí, and the forested area of the Porce river, Northeast Antioquia. Some of them are currently being described while others will allow us to find out how large the geographic range of each species' habitat is”, says biologist Luz Fernanda Jiménez, coordinator of the research project.

Actions should be taken

"Our researchers have provided us with a very important inventory that allows us to know what is happening around the basins of our rivers and to what extent human intervention (such as the construction of reservoirs) affects the ecosystem, so that we can mitigate its impacts," Arboleda said.

And he added that "the joint effort of our researchers and students allows them to deliver results and recommendations so that these ecosystems are not threatened".

For his part, Londoño highlighted the intervention that EPM has been carrying out for two years in the Porce river basin: “We’re currently conducting research aimed at assessing the quality of water and the species that inhabit the river, towards a sustainable, responsible use of these resources, while taking care of the environment”. He added that "the purpose of this study is to achieve the integral development of the territory, and encourage the community to make responsible use of natural resources". 

Initially, the project was intended to be carried out in sixteen municipalities near reservoirs built by EPM. However, in 2018, another twenty-two municipalities were included in the monitoring program for the middle and lower Cauca river basins.

On the other hand, UdeA is currently carrying out 23 investigations with the participation of researchers from the faculties of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Engineering, Public Health and Environmental Studies. Research is aimed at taking actions to protect the forests that surround areas where power generation projects are carried out.

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