It’s time for another update on what our partners at Ecologi have been getting up to! This month, we’re taking a trip to Colombia to learn all about the country’s rich biodiversity and how Ecologi is sponsoring a project to help protect a vital forest.
Colombia in South America is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries. It belongs to a category of countries known as “megadiverse” - which is as impressive as it sounds. There are just 17 of them globally, and these countries are home to a huge variety of the earth’s species of flora and fauna.
Colombia is actually the second most biodiverse country in the world - beaten only by Brazil, which also happens to be seven times bigger than Colombia. About 10% of all species on earth can be found living in Colombia, and it’s home to 314 different ecosystems.
With Colombia being home to such an impressive number of plant and animal species, protecting the natural habitats within the country is of vital importance. Deforestation is a huge problem across Colombia and the wider region of South America, and there are other factors that pose a risk to Colombia’s biodiversity, like urbanisation, habitat loss, and overfishing.
The project is based in the Vichada Department of Colombia, within the Orinoco river basin in the east of the country. This region in particular has suffered from deforestation, having lost around 500,000 hectares of forest from 1990 to 2005.
The project being supported by Ecologi is the Matavén REDD+ project, and it is protecting more than 1 million hectares of tropical forest within the Indigenous Reservation of the Matavén Forest. REDD+ is the framework created by the United Nations, and it stands for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation”.
Since 2012, the Matavén REDD+ project has worked to protect this vast area of forest. It has succeeded in preventing emissions which would have otherwise taken place, and offers alternative employment for the local population who may have instead turned to farming the land. Rather than moving into the area to farm - cutting down trees in the process - the project employs the local population as rangers, supporting the development of sustainable livelihoods which work alongside the forest, instead of against it.
Approximately 16,000 Indigenous people live locally and can benefit from other projects that run alongside the forest protection, from providing education to healthcare centres, dental services, sanitation and food security.
You can find out more about the project, including photos and videos, on Ecologi’s project page.
30/03/2023 by NatuTeam