The Amazon provides critical benefits to people everywhere, besides sustaining millions of local people, including at least 300,000 indigenous people from hundreds of distinct cultures.
In Colombia, nearly one-third of the country's total area is covered by Amazon rainforest. Here, we work with indigenous communities and local governments to stop deforestation and promote habitat conservation.
What we are doing
In the Colombian Amazon, the Conservancy is:
- Working with indigenous communities: In the Matavén forest, one of the most diverse natural areas in Colombia, we are supporting indigenous groups to conserve their natural resources and cultural heritage.
In coordination with the organization Acatisema, we are helping fifteen communities representing six ethnic groups to develop their Life Plan, which expresses their vision for the future including guiding principles for long-term natural resource use.
Matavén represents a natural next step in the expansion of our conservation efforts in the region – just across the border, in the Venezuelan Amazon, we have been supporting the Pemón indigenous people for years.
- Monitoring deforestation: The Conservancy has been providing the Colombian government with important data about Amazon deforestation in the country, helping create conservation policies.
Through a system of near real-time monitoring of land cover called TerraI, jointly developed by the Conservancy and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), we found that deforestation in Colombia’s southern Caquetá department had increased sharply from 2004 to 2009 — nearly three-fold from the decade before.
This information helped the Colombian government outline their position on deforestation presented during strategic forums and meetings, such as the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
- Strengthening protected areas: Located in the department of Caquetá, Chiribiquete Natural National Park covers over 3,2 million acres — larger than Yellowstone National Park. Chiribiquete’s dense rainforests house some of the Amazon’s most isolated and unique wildlife, like the Chiribiquete Emerald (Chlorostilbon olivaresi), a hummingbird found only in Colombia.
The Conservancy is working with the Colombian government to carry-out biological studies in and surrounding the park to support its expansion in order to help control deforestation and connect important swaths of rainforest in the Colombian Amazon.
Our goal is to make the Chiribiquete Natural National Park five times larger, covering an area nearly the size of Costa Rica.