GAP REPRESENTATIVENESS ANALYSIS IN THE MARINE PROTECTED AREAS OF THE NATIONAL SYSTEM OF NATURAL PARKS OF COLOMBIA
Gap representativeness analysis is the process that identifies and assesses biodiversity or a selected surrogate within a protected area system, determining which biodiversity elements are insufficiently represented or which areas are lacking protection. The main objective of this research was to perform a gap analysis based on physiographic areas recognized as coastal and ocean systems, as well as on biodiversity elements of intertidal and subtidal ecological systems with reference to 13 protected areas of the national system of natural parks of Colombia (SPNN) located at the Caribbean and Pacific marine and coastal zones. The spatial variability coverage of the 26 biodiversity elements from the Caribbean and 12 elements from the Pacific was assessed on the 18 coastal and oceanic systems that subdivide the study area. Through the use of the software ArcGis 9.2.1 the biodiversity elements were structured in a geographical information system enabling spatial explicit operations between the layers of marine protected boundaries, coastal systems and distribution of biodiversity surrogates. Based on the representativeness ranges defined in this analysis it was found that only three systems are properly represented in the SPNN (> 30%), four systems are under-represented (10 to 29%), four systems are represented less than 10%, and seven systems are not represented at all. In relation with the elements of biodiversity it was found that twenty elements are not represented (< 10%), 13 elements are underrepresented (10-29%), three are represented from 30 to 59%, and only two are well represented (> 60%). According to the results, in order to increase the representativeness of biodiversity elements and to strengthen the SPNN it is recommended to undertake actions to achieve in situ conservation including the spatial variability along the marine and coastal areas of Colombia.
Gap analysis, marine protected areas; National System of Natural Parks; Colombia
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