On December 2, 2023, Colombia reinforced its commitment to conserving its spectacular biodiversity by establishing the Serranía de Manacacías National Park. Spanning 168,107 acres (68,031 ha) of rolling green hills, floodplains, and rivers, Colombia’s 61st national park is a major strategic achievement for biodiversity. Manacacías links the Orinoquia, the continent’s second-largest tropical savannah, with the Amazon, the largest river basin and rainforest on Earth.
Before its establishment as a national park, Manacacías was home to traditional cattle ranchers, known in Colombia as llaneros. Over the last 200 years, llaneros have used minimal inputs on their lands, which allowed much of the area’s unique biodiversity to stay intact. These traditional practices held off the encroaching tide of oil palm and eucalyptus plantations taking over the savannah’s fragile ecosystems.
Today, many llaneros and their families have taken on a new role as park rangers. They are keenly aware of the value of these lands — Manacacías contains 6 ecosystems not previously represented in Colombia’s system of National Parks. Within these ecosystems are a quarter of Colombia’s known bird species and mammals like Ocelots, South American Tapirs, and South American Coatis.
Colombia is home to 10% of the world’s biodiversity, and the creation of its newest national park represents the country’s enduring commitment to achieving the 30×30 target— a global goal to protect 30% of the planet’s biodiversity by 2030.
Collaboration to Protect a Global Treasure
The creation of the Serranía de Manacacías National Park was the result of an enormous joint effort of different actors, including the Colombian government, local ranchers, The Nature Conservancy, Art into Acres, the Wyss Foundation, and Re:wild. Andes Amazon Fund supported the creation of the park through its contribution to Herencia Colombia, a financing initiative launched in 2022 that seeks to conserve over 79 million acres of high-priority ecosystems across Colombia and will support its initial management costs.