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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Collaboration with San Bartolomé School

San Bartolomé is the oldest school in Bogotá which laid the first stone to the later universities such as Universidad Nacional and Javeriana. Dr. Dunia Urrego suggested this school as a context for collaborative dialogue. This process began with a number of meetings with the Dean, Father Juan Manuel and the Director Wilson Alonso. 

The first meeting was based on a presentation of the project and previous projects I have done in order to illustrate examples for possible ideas of interest. There was a shared interest in collaborative practices in order to generate between spaces for reflection, creation and exchange. In the school, some teachers had made pilot programs experimenting with pedagogy using transversal programs trying to implement interdisciplinary projects, creative forms of engagement and experiential and multisensorial processes with nature. This ground was a “meeting point” from which a number of meetings took place in order to think collectively on ideas and structures that could be applied in the classroom and furthermore structures at the school. 


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Presentation, deep mapping

I was asked to present a “work in progress” intervention in the Social Sciences team meeting at the Instituto Humboldt. This presentation was included in the section“Knowledge systems”. 

For this presentation I followed a deep mapping strategy trying to generate further transversal narratives across concepts, questions, methods and encounters; ingredients that feed the following outcomes of this placement. The following paragraphs are the presentation  (in Spanish).

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