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Protecting Biodiversity and Preventing Deforestation in Colombia’s Ecosystems

To protect Colombian forests and mitigate the effects of climate change, the Biodiversity Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation project promoted responsible resource management among local groups.
Colombia’s ecosystems are being compromised, and biodiversity is being threatened by habitat fragmentation and destruction. In recent years, deforestation in Colombia has more than doubled, and climate change is beginning to exacerbate these issues through changes in precipitation and the frequency and severity of extreme events like droughts or floods.

Through the USAID Biodiversity — Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (Bio-REDD+) project, Chemonics reinforced Colombian efforts to sustainably manage and use environmental assets through mitigating and adapting to climate change, preserving biodiversity, and promoting formalization and legalization of artisanal gold mining.

The project enabled the Colombian government — in collaboration with local communities, local nongovernmental organizations, and private sector investors — to sustainably protect and manage the country’s biodiversity, ecosystem services, and natural resources, while it implements low-carbon and carbon reduction plans toward mitigating emissions of climate change gases. Bio-REDD+ developed an approach where forest conservation and issuing carbon credits is linked to income generating activities and biodiversity management.

The project worked with four mining companies — Mineros, Grand Colombia Gold, Grupo de Bullet, and Minatura International — to formalize artisanal mining production, mitigate environmental degradation, and strengthen government oversight and monitoring. The project facilitated more than 60 contracts between the four companies and 15 artisanal mining associations to formalize activities around concessions. It also trained more than 150 small miners in improved technologies to increase gold recovery by 15 percent and reduce mercury use by 90 percent. Such efforts improved rural livelihoods while mitigating environmental degradation.

Project Results

  • Improved natural resource management across 738,169 hectares of biologically significant territory
  • Supported 39 policies, strategies, agreements, or regulations to address climate change mitigation, adaptation, and biodiversity conservation.
  • Secured international validation of its entire portfolio of eight REDD+ projects to the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) gold standard.
  • Rehabilitated 786 hectares of degraded land with uses such as rubber, cacao, planted forests, or natural vegetation.

Project Duration: 2011 - 2015

Final Report


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