Linking flooded forests, fish and people in the Río Caquetá: a first effort to conserve floodplains in Colombia

Sandra Correa

The importance of preserving flooded forests to ensure the long-term sustainability of fish populations is rarely recognized among Colombian Amazon communities. The río Caquetá-Japurá is one of the largest tributaries of the Amazon River. This river, which has large-scale environmental impacts in its northern reaches, also has great expanses of high quality flooded forest in its southern reaches. It not only supports an important commercial fishery, but also is biologically connected to one of the largest protected floodplain areas in the Amazon Basin – the Reserva de Desenvolvimento Sustentável Mamirauá (RDSM). Because this river basin has such a great ecological importance to the large number of Colombian and Brazilian communities that inhabits its shores, the lower río Caquetá represents an ideal area for pursuing conservation initiatives to preserve the interactions between flooded forests, fish, and people in the Colombian Amazon. The purpose of this study is to promote the conservation of flooded forests in the río Caquetá-Japurá system. This study will identify to what extent individual fish assemblages are dependent on flooded forests resources.