CHIRIBIQUETE
Sierra de Chiribiquete Parque Nacional Natural Sierra de Chiribiquete in Colombia. Photo credit. © Erika Nortemann

Stories in Colombia

Colombia

Land Conservation. Increasing the environmental, economic and social benefits of productive landscapes in Colombia.

Though Colombia is rapidly losing its natural landscapes due to an advancing agricultural frontier, we believe that increasing food production is possible without habitat loss. The Nature Conservancy shares its science and builds transformational partnerships across sectors to make sustainable ranching and farming practices the norm instead of the exception in Colombia.

We safeguard the Magdalena River basin, Orinoco River basin, Colombian Amazon and the Colombian Andes by:

  • Protecting and restoring critically important habitats
    •  We safeguard ecologically important places; guiding development towards sites with the least impact on nature.
    • We restore degraded landscapes through improved production practices that promote the recovery of natural ecosystems
  • Transforming how we use nature to sustain ourselves
    • Through science and partnerships, we encourage innovative practices and policies on working lands to ensure sustainable crops for Colombia.
    • We partner with local communities and indigenous peoples, providing them with science and other tools to be the best stewards of their own resources.
  • Inspiring collective action
    • We galvanize collective action (from policymakers, to rural and indigenous communities, to government agencies) to promote the adoption of sustainable development models at scale.
    • We promote public policies and productive practices to help integrate nature into supply chains.

In the Colombian Amazon, the Maine-sized region of Caqueta holds the second highest deforestation rate in Latin America.

We are working in Caqueta's deforestation hot spots to assist indigenous communities in updating the cartography of their territories, fortifying current land registers and their territorial governance.

We are providing indigenous councils technical assistance in the management and development of land use planning and conservation agreements in the municipalities of Solano, Cartagena del Chiara and San Vincente del Caguan, helping to protect over 4,590,000 acres of the region's endangered forest. 

Evar Castro
Cattle ranching in Colombia “I was born on this land and we started ranching 50 years ago— we used to clear pastures, but with the specialists’ advice we learned that planting trees improves the environment as well as the health of the cattle with shade and good nutrition. We have planted almost 750 trees, started planting botón de oro and as a result our cows are putting on weight and producing more milk. Before, we got 7-8 liters of milk per cow per day, but now, with better nutrition and conditions, we are getting about 18-20 liters. Thanks to the project, we have transformed the way we do ranching and we have improved milk and meat production.” © Juan Arredondo

Transforming how we use nature to sustain ourselves

Traditional cattle ranching consumes more than a third of Colombia’s territory and is the leading cause of deforestation.

Along with Colombia's National Cattle Ranching Federation (FEDEGAN) and other partners, we are promoting sustainable ranching (silvo-pastoral systems) at the largest scale ever done in Colombia. In over 87 municipalities, nearly 2,600 ranchers—mainly owners of small size plots in areas of high biodiversity and low-income levels—are adopting sustainable practices that protect critical habitats while increasing production, profits and climate resilience.

Results have been impressive.

Colombian ranchers have already transformed 105,000 acres to environmentally-friendly practices and protected 37,000 acres through conservation agreements with landowners. Nearly a million native trees have been planted. Meanwhile, participating ranchers report a reduction in the need for fertilizers and pesticides, more productive soils, increased loads (animals per hectare) and an average 10 percent increase in their milk and/or meat production.

We are mainstreaming sustainable cattle ranching.

Workers apply fertilizer to the African oil palms (Elaeis guineensis) on Manuelita's Altamira palm oil farm in the Colombian Llanos.
Palm oil farm in Colombia Workers apply fertilizer to the African oil palms (Elaeis guineensis) on Manuelita's Altamira palm oil farm in the Colombian Llanos. © Erika Nortemann/The Nature Conservancy

Imagine a world where vibrant, healthy, productive landscapes teem with a diversity of life while cleaning our air and absorbing carbon emissions. A world where improved land management increases our natural resources instead of depleting them, and environmentally-friendly development replaces unsustainable agricultural practices.

We are galvanizing collective action in Colombia to bring together environmental protection and agricultural development.