Our projects in Colombia seek to protect 1.2 million hectares of forest at risk in the departments of Vaupés, Putumayo and Chocó. With a focus on transparent and inclusive processes, we work hand in hand with indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities to improve the wellbeing of thousands of families, and to conserve the region's rich biodiversity.
We have 6 projects in development within one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, Colombia. The projects span two distinct ecoregions: the Amazon and the Pacific Coast.
OF FOREST PROTECTED
AVOIDED PER YEAR
AMAZON ECOREGION COLOMBIA
THE COMMUNITY PARTNERS
Our 3 projects in the Amazonian ecoregion of Vaupés and Putumayo are home to over 10,000 community members, the majority of whom are Indigenous to the area.
In the Amazonian rainforests of Colombia, Indigenous people have been stewards of their lands and resources for thousands of years. Their spiritual reverence and deep connection to the forests have helped maintain the rich biodiversity and health of these invaluable ecosystems.
In Vaupes, the Association of Traditional Indigenous Authorities of the Yapú Zone (ASATRIZY) includes 8 communities and the Carapana, Tatuyo, Tucano, Bara and Tuyuca Indigenous groups. The Association of Traditional Indigenous Authorities of Querarí (ASATIQ) includes 17 communities and the Cubeo Indigenous group. In Putumayo, the Association of Traditional Authorities and Indigenous Peoples Councils of the Municipality of Puerto Leguízamo and the Alto Predio Putumayo Indigenous Reservation (ACILAPP) includes 5 communities and the Múrui, Muinane, Coreguaje and Nasa Indigenous groups.
In these projects, generations of traditional knowledge are being interwoven with modern techniques to help increase food security as populations grow, decrease reliance on unsustainable “slash and burn” farming methods, identify alternative construction materials, and create jobs for alternative income sources. Locally formed Community Councils self-govern with respect to each community’s own customs and traditions and actively direct how project revenues are used.
MAKING AN ALLIANCE
Diego Ramírez from the Association of Indigenous Authorities of Yapú (ASATRIZY) shares the reasons why he chose Wildlife Works as an ally.
Meet Victoria Yaci, a female leader championing women's empowerment in her community, Puerto Refugio.
We hold ourselves accountable to thorough and culturally appropriate free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). This means creating culture and place specific carbon market training sessions to make sure they are making an informed decision - especially if the community has an oral tradition. We establish clear grievance procedures and communities know they have the right to withdraw their consent throughout the lifetime of the project.
"We depend on Mother Earth in order to have the products we need for our families. That's why it our duty to keep the territory healthy."
One of the main aspects for teamwork to be successful is clear and transparent communication.
Together with the members of the communities, we have designed and installed a series of boards with all the information about meetings, project processes and contact numbers so that all the people who inhabit the territory and are part of the project can actively be involved in the different project activities.
In each of the projects developed by Wildlife Works, the community selects people belonging to different communities located in the territory and who are part of the conservation project to be developed. This Committee is in charge of ensuring the interests of each community, proposing early investments and monitoring the entire process.
JOBS PROTECTING BIODIVERSITY
Locally-hired Indigenous eco-guards help to monitor and protect wildlife within the project area.
COMMUNITIES IN ACILAPP
Samaritana, is an Indigenous reservation community belonging to ACILAPP (Association of Traditional Authorities and Councils of Indigenous Peoples of the Municipality of Leguizamo and Alto Resguardo Predio Putumayo) located in Pto. Leguizamo - Putumayo.
° Boa constrictor
Colombia is home to 10% of the vast Amazon rainforest, the lungs of our earth.
The forests of Putumayo and Vaupés are characterized by unfragmented, humid tropical rainforest. Many prized species, such as rosewood and mahogany, put the forest at threat from outside illegal commercial loggers. Additionally, illegal mining for black sands and precious metals put the area under threat. Project activities to help reduce these drivers of deforestation include increased forest monitoring and protection, conservation agriculture and job creation.
More than half of Colombia’s continental surface is covered with natural forests, but over the last six years, the country has lost close to 1 million acres of forests, which is equivalent to roughly 1 million soccer fields. This situation generates a spiral of socio-environmental conflicts that affect the forest community members, local climate and the country’s rich biodiversity.
Deforestation in Colombia is the result of a complex combination of historical and socio-economic factors, but is primarily linked to the rapid expansion of the agricultural frontier. This includes land grabbing for cattle ranching and illegal activities, such as the extraction and exploitation of precious minerals, illicit crops such as coca leaf, and commercial timber.
Some of the underlying causes for this rapid deforestation are the lack of productive and sustainable economic alternatives for local communities, weak regional and local governance structures, insufficient governmental presence and a pervasive and ongoing armed conflict.
Wildlife Works began work in Colombia in 2018 to provide technical assistance in all phases of project implementation of 8 USAID-funded REDD+ projects on Colombia’s pacific coast, commonly known as Portafolio REDD+ Pacífico or Portafolio BioREDD. Soon after, we initiated our own process of project sourcing and development in Colombia.
Projects in the Amazon Ecoregion (Putumayo and Vaupes) include:
MALOCA VAUPÉS ASATIQ
MALOCA VAUPÉS ASATRIZY