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Colombia: Reforestation of Degraded Land in the Caribbean Savannah
(BioCarbon Fund)

UNFCCC Reference No.: 6301

Project Photo 1
The vegetation remains green even during the peak of the dry season; trees provide forage during the dry periods (Photo: CIAT)

The Caribbean Savannah is located in the northern part of Colombia, in the Department of Cordoba. The savannah landscape is characterized by soils that were suffering from severe degradation, most prominently due to exhaustive livestock systems. The land is used predominantly for cattle pasture with heavy grazing, and some areas were used intermittently to grow cash crops, such as maize.

The Project:
The Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT), the Corporación Colombiana de Investigación Agropecuaria (CORPOICA) and the Corporación Autónoma Regional de los Valles del Sinú y del San Jorge have partnered to pilot the use of silvopastoral and reforestation systems as a tool to arrest the process of land degradation in the coastal plains of Colombia.  The project restores and increases the productivity of 2,200 ha of degraded land through three interventions, which actively involve and bring benefits to the surrounding communities.  The first focuses on recuperating 500 ha of degraded pastures by establishing forage shrubs and trees for fruit production, which also feed the animals in the area.  This activity is carried out by the Zenu indigenous community.  A second component reforests 1,500 ha with rubber trees and is undertaken by local small scale farmers who traditionally used the degraded area for cropping.  Finally, the project reforests 200 ha with high-value timber species.

Project Photo 2
Reforestation involving rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensis) provides farmers with an additional source of income through the sale of latex (Photo: S. Scholz)

Environmental Benefits:
Project activities will result in the restoration of the soil productive capacity and therefore in the improvement of land productivity.

Social and Community Benefits:
Since the project is improving the land productivity, the project participants—mostly marginal rural and indigenous communities—are experiencing socioeconomic benefits and increased employment. The productive land will be a site for rubber production, improved dairy productivity, and potential timber and seed harvesting—benefits that will diversify local incomes and simulate sustainable development in the region.  About 200 families from the Zenu indigenous community, 250 families living of subsistence agriculture and 3 medium size farmers, will be the direct project beneficiaries.

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