TBI in Colombia works towards the recognition, strengthening and protection of traditional knowledge related to conservation and the sound use of tropical forests. It generates information that improves forest management and informs political negotiation and sound decision making surrounding the use of forests, especially the Amazon.
Humid tropical forests are TBI's priority in Colombia because of the large area, biodiversity and population. The Amazon covers more than 84 million hectares and the greatest biodiversity and cultural diversity in the country, with 40 different ethnic groups and more than 12 languages. Much is under resguardos (reservation) land tenure systems, with 23 million hectares managed by indigenous communities, and almost 10 million hectares of protected areas are Natural National Parks. One challenge is to strengthen indigenous local governments, as they are the primary public authorities in the Colombian Amazon.
TBI in Colombia through its local partner Tropenbos Colombia works with policy makers, academic institutions, and rural communities, including indigenous and afro-descendent peoples. It focuses particularly on indigenous legislation, natural resource management plans in protected areas, community monitoring of forest ecosystems, sustainability strategies of indigenous communities, environmental services, climate change and food security.
What we do:
- Build capacity and carry out research that reflects local perspectives
- Give support and enhance participatory monitoring and local research processes, by providing resources, guidance and analysis tools to local researchers
- We stimulates collaborative projects in the Colombian protected areas.
- Develop local research and traditional knowledge through publications, workshops and meetings with local indigenous communities and institutions.
- Establish dialogues regarding local and traditional knowledge, generating intercultural interactions and serving as mediators among institutions.
Tropenbos International has been operational in Colombia since 1987. It started in Araracuara and from 2008 it has expanded nationwide. In 2017, Tropenbos Colombia became a legal national entity of Colombia and a member of the Tropenbos International network.
In the last years TBI has strengthened the capacities, provided tools and enhanced self-confidence of indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest to participate in the formulation and implementation of effective environmental management processes. The programme has led to a change in Government food assistance policies for the Colombian Amazon, which used to rely on foods imported into the region. Local community members are now invited to participate in the design of the government's food aid programmes, aiming at the reintroduction of traditional agricultural crops and practices.