We present a synthesis of a proposal for integrated monitoring of high Andean ecosystems in Colombia, formulated through a process of discussion and consultation with multiple stakeholders with experience in monitoring mountain ecosystems in the country. The proposal takes as point of departure the need for developing integrated monitoring systems, with an adaptive management approach that allows evaluation of impacts of changes in socio-economic contexts and the effects of global change on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Also, this approach provides relevant information for territorial planning, climate change adaptation and ecological restoration. We prioritize high Andean ecosystems in Colombia because they include strategic ecosystems such as paramos, wetlands and glaciers, are global biodiversity hotspots, provide key ecosystem services including regulation of water provision for a growing rural and urban population, and exhibit a high vulnerability to climate change. There are numerous monitoring schemes at a national level and in the Andean region of Colombia, including initiatives that monitor biomass and carbon, taxonomic and functional diversity, climate, hydrology and glacier dynamics, as well as studies on land-use and socio economic dynamics. Considering this accumulated experience, we discuss the challenges for their assimilation into an integrated system and propose a multiscale conceptual model of the main drivers of change and the response variables that could be monitored, from the national to the ecosystem/plot scale. Finally, we present the main expected products of the strategy, a possible institutional framework and the next steps that we consider are necessary for promoting its consolidation.
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