Colombia | April 22, 2021
Extending over approximately 1,700,000 hectares, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta rises as a pyramidal territory isolated from the Andes Mountains, located in the Colombian Caribbean Region, and occupies part of the departments of Magdalena, Cesar, and La Guajira. It stands out as the highest coastal mountain system in the world, reaching an altitude of 5,775 meters – just 42 kilometers from the coastline. It encompasses a Forest Reserve and two National Natural Parks: the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Natural Park, declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1979, and the Tayrona National Natural Park, established in 1964. Four indigenous reservations have also been established in the territory, home of the four original peoples of this region: the Kogui-Malayo-Arhuaco Reservation , the Arhuaco de la Sierra Reservation , the Arhuaco de Businchama Reservation , and the Kankuamo Reservation .
In 2013 the International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN, Switzerland] cataloged Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta as “the most irreplaceable site in the world for threatened species”, mainly due to its unique environmental conditions, which allow the existence of a wide variety of exotic species of flora and fauna. Thanks to its location in a tropical area, and its snow-capped peaks close to the Caribbean Sea, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta offers one of the best climatic systems in the world, as it exhibits all the existing thermal floors – from the warm temperatures of its coral beaches to the cold climates of the glaciers on the peaks. The latter are responsible for supplying 35 hydrographic basins and more than 750 rivers and streams, providing fresh water to more than 1.5 million people.
The four indigenous communities in the area [Arhuaco, Kogui, Wiwa and Kankuamo] are descendants of the pre-Columbian Tayrona culture, and regard this territory as a sanctuary that must be protected and preserved, not only because of its provision of fresh water and support of hundreds of endemic species, but also because of its spiritual significance. It contains more than 348 Tayrona sacred sites where these peoples venerate Mother Earth.
On this “International Mother Earth Day” commemorated by the United Nations since 2009, Greenwood Energy recalls the importance of preserving our planet’s biodiversity, which ensures the balance of ecosystems that support all forms of life on Earth. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, as a site of great environmental, scientific, and cultural relevance, represents one of the many sites with irreplaceable characteristics, which humanity is called to pay special attention to for its protection and care.