Indigenous Embera and Spirits Entangled with the Quinchas


Mónica Amador-Jiménez, University of Bristol

Travelling from Puerto Boyacá to the Serranía de las Quinchas Regional Park, about halfway to las Quinchas you arrive at a farm called “Triple G.” This farm, which looks like most other cattle and pasture farms in this region, is close to the Embera Cabildo, an indigenous settlement that was established about 17 years ago and whose governing council is recognized as an indigenous authority by the municipality and the Ministry of Interior of Colombia. In this blog entry, we will share impressions from our encounters with the inhabitants of this settlement, a group of Emberas that had been forcibly displaced from other parts of the country and who, upon reaching the mountain range of the Quinchas, settled down and soon initiated a deep relationship with these forested mountains.

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Women of the Serranía de las Quinchas: Gender, Mujeres and Environment

Mónica Amador-Jiménez, University of Bristol

There is a current within environmental feminism theory and practice that suggests that women are more willing or even naturally sensitive to environmental problems since they have ethics of care that men do not have. This perspective within gender theory and feminism has been criticized for its essentialism; that there is only one way to be a woman, that all women have a structural-universal identity and that they basically have the same ethics of care. This is again being connected to their reproductive capacity and to the idea of women being mothers. This way of understanding the role of women in environmental conservation tends to biologize the character of the feminine and of being a woman – and to simplify the construction of subjectivities and sociocultural practices that are related to how gender, sexuality, and bodies take shape in specific contexts and historical moments.

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Women, Politics and Environment in Puerto Boyacá-Colombia

by  Mónica Amador-Jiménez

On October 10th 2019 the BioResilience Project organized a roundtable on Women, Politics and Environment in the municipality of Puerto Boyacá. For the first time during the campaign period ahead of the departmental and local elections, the candidates standing for Mayor, the Municipal Council and the Departmental Assembly, as well as the leaders of the veredas of the municipality, met to discuss the role of women in politics and their commitments to the environmental conservation in the municipality. More than 40 women, activists, politicians, and candidates discussed deforestation in the Serranía de las Quinchas, environmental sanitation in Puerto Boyacá and contamination in the Palagua swamp due oil extraction.

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Introducing our fieldsites from the Socio-Cultural component 2: Serrania de las Quinchas, Boyacá


By Monica Amador, with Naomi Millner


Parque Natural Regional Serrania de las Quinchas

Corregimiento of Puerto Pinzón and Caserio La Arenosa – Puerto Boyacá-Boyacá

Type of forest: Humid Tropical Lowland Forest

Inhabitants: 450 children and adults (registered by the municipality)


In 2006, the right-wing paramilitary bloc of Puerto Boyacá was demobilized. This was a ruthless private army that had been under the command of Arnubio Triana, an infamous paramilitary commander who only went under the name of “Botalón”. This was one of the 38 paramilitary outfits that demobilized in 2006 under a legal framework known as the Justice and Peace Law, a law that had been promoted by former president Álvaro Uribe Vélez and that had included as many as 30 000 paramilitary fighters. The demobilization ceremony in the municipality of Puerto Boyacá took place in the village of El Marfil, just a few kilometers away from the village of Puerto Pinzón. In this village and in its surroundings the research project BioResilience will look at lowland cases in order to understand Andean forest capacity to persist and/or expand in a context marked by the effects of the internal armed conflict and the “post-conflict” situation in Colombia.

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Introducing the field sites from the SocioCultural perspective 1: Monquentiva, Cundimarca

By Monica Amador, with Naomi Millner


Parque Natural Regional Vista Hermosa de Monquentiva

Vereda Monquentiva – Guatavita  

Type of forest: Paramo and High Andean Mountains

Inhabitants: 200 approximately


The Sociocultural Component of the BioResilience project aims to explore and analyze the human practices that have historically participated in the transformation of the Andean forests as we know them today. We have designed an ethnographic approach inspired by decolonial theories in order to understand the territories our colleagues are investigating in their socioecological complexities. Meanwhile, we also facilitate dialogues and participate in discussion with the various actors that inhabit these forests. Our overall aim is to contribute to the implementation of public policies for environmental protection. To this end, BioResilience is working on holding spaces for discussion in relation to the design and implementation of environmental management plans in two recently declared regional parks:  the Serranía de las Quinchas Regional Park (2008) and the Monquentiva Regional Park (2017). In order to understand the complexity of our intervention, here we introduce the socio-environmental problematics that characterise the territories of our study.

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Recovering long-term vegetation and environmental records in Andean ecosystems of Colombia

In June 2019, the BioResilience project palaeoecology team visited and sampled lakes from contrasting regions in terms of natural ecosystems and cultures. We crossed the Eastern Cordillera of Colombia from the lowland forests in the mid-Magdalena Valley to High Andean forest in the Cundiboyacense Plateau, covering an altitudinal transect from 200 to 3000 m asl. We travelled around 2300 km, exploring and sampling the lakes, but also participating in the socialization campaigns where the project introduction was successful.

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Evaluating the resilience of soils in Andean ecosystems

The BioResilience soil field team is currently led by Dr Carmen Montes, Universidad Nacional Abierta y a Distancia UNAD de Colombia, in collaboration with Dr Julieth Serrano and Dr Ted Feldpausch (project PI) from the University of Exeter, UK. Dr Montes went to the field to sample soil at 12 plots at La Serrania de las Quinchas  (Puerto Pinzón, Puerto Boyacá, Boyacá, Colombia). This region on the western flank of the Andes Eastern range mountain has elevations between 250 m to 1500 m a.s.l. (Figure 1). The average temperature is 27 °C in the low zones and  23 °C in the high mountain. Relative air humidity varies between 79% and 88% (Ovalle-Pacheco, Camacho-Rozo, & Arroyo,2019).

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Disonancia Sugerida, experimento artístico en el espacio intermedio

Suggested Dissonance is an invitation to an artistic research process by sharing cross-sectional narratives to questions and encounters. This path will take us through the forest, the relational, the interdisciplinary, the sense of belonging, the notion of place, exchange and dialogue between different kinds of knowledge which are intertwined concepts in a space in between. This collective ritual offers the opportunity for participants to become active agents in this shared multisensory experience.

This event is part of the project “Colombia BioResilience: Biodiversity resilience and ecosystem services in post-conflict socio-ecological systems in Colombia”, an interdisciplinary collaboration between the University of Bristol and University of Exeter (United Kingdom), which has given the opportunity to the artist Seila Fernández Arconada to generate this research during her placement at the Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute (Colombia).


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