Colombia is home to an estimated 10% of the world’s animal and plant species. Its Pacific coast is an area rich in forests and wildlife, and is also the territory of Afro-Colombian and Indigenous communities.
This incredible native biodiversity comes from the multiple types of forests and unique ecosystems in the region. But its biodiversity is at risk. Illegal timber extraction has been an important source of income for communities, and following on from the gradual degradation of forests caused by continual timber extraction, many forest areas are ultimately converted to agriculture and pasture. This also degrades flora and fauna habitats.
The Pacific Forest Network projects aim to alleviate these pressures on the forests by supporting governance capacity, generating alternative economic activities and income sources, and building capacity in administration and management. The projects’ activities, beyond protecting local forests and biodiversity, contribute to social and economic development in one of the poorest areas of Colombia, and benefit its Afro-Colombian and Indigenous communities.
Colombia is one of the world’s 12 megadiverse countries. Characterized by a variety of ecosystems, transitioning from coastal mangroves and wetlands to high mountain forests, this has contributed to substantial Colombian biodiversity. One of Stand For Trees’ main objectives for REDD+ projects, is to contribute to biodiversity conservation by safeguarding intact natural forests. Project activities are primarily designed to reduce levels of deforestation and forest degradation in the projects’ areas. It will result in the improved maintenance of, and in many cases the recuperation (through natural regeneration) of forest biodiversity, it is estimated that left to recover naturally, these forests are able to return to a state approximating natural conditions within 15 years. The preservation of unique animal species, vegetation and threatened ecosystems creates a high conservation value throughout the projects.
Strengthening of local institutions, governance and capacity for effective participation in the equitable distribution of benefits and the preservation of cultural values. The network of projects involves 20 Afro-Colombian community councils and indigenous councils with constitutionally guaranteed land tenure, more than 8,000 families and more than 40,000 people live in these zones.
The Pacific Forest Network is estimated to generate more than 70 million of Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) over 30 years. Its eight projects have been validated and verified by the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (gold level) and the Verified Carbon Standards.
The network of projects is home to many endemic species and provides refuge to endangered species of flora and fauna, such as the pavón, a large bird that is critically endangered due to its hunting for food and the destruction of its habitat. It is also home to vulnerable species like the tigrillo, brown-headed spider monkey, boa, parrot, guayacama, golden eagle, as well as others. This region also hosts several endangered trees species including Jigua Negro, Guayaquil, Abarco, Nispero, Cedar, Mahogany and Oak, prized for their high-value timber potential.