Doubt clouds major wetland success story


Between 1956 and 1980, modern notions of progress arrived at the isolated Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta—an estuarine lagoon that forms the core of Colombia’s most important coastal wetland system. Two new roads were built, linking 5,000 fishermen and their villages to urban markets. Meanwhile, dikes were erected to prevent flooding of farms along the Magdalena River. Nature was harnessed; fishermen, ranchers and rice growers rejoiced. Then the Ciénaga Grande began to die. With roads and dikes blocking the normal flux of salt water and fresh water from the Magdalena and the Caribbean Sea, more than 60% of the massive mangrove swamps in the 483-square-mile (1,250-sq-km) region had withered by the mid-1990s. Hundreds of tons of fish perished, and... [Log in to read more]

Would you like to Subscribe?