CI's work in the Chingaza-Sumapaz-Páramo de Guerrero Conservation Corridor is an example of how well-designed conservation tools can be applied to produce multiple benefits simultaneously.
The Chingaza-Sumapaz-Páramo de Guerrero Conservation Corridor spans 600,000 hectares (nearly 1.5 million acres) of tropical rainforest, agricultural lands and inhabited areas in central Colombia. This landscape includes 110 protected areas of various designations and is home to approximately 10 million people. It contains unique species and provides essential ecosystem services upon which people depend. The corridor is the source of several significant rivers that provide irrigation and potable water for local people as well as the 8 million residents of the capital city of Bogotá.
To ensure long-term conservation and sustainable use of the Corridor's natural resources, CI has been working to establish a landscape-level program that prioritizes areas for conservation, restoration and natural resource use. This three-pronged approach will ensure species conservation while protecting important headwaters and mitigating climate change.
Existing protected areas cover approximately 30 percent of the total surface area of the corridor. The other 70 percent is unprotected, primarily private land. CI's strategy has been to organize landowners, both individuals and companies, to participate in developing and implementing a sustainable land-use arrangement. To secure financing to support conservation and restoration work while conserving forested areas and reforesting degraded lands, CI is developing a forest carbon program under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism. This program, the first of its kind in Colombia, will mitigate the effects of climate change and generate carbon credits that can be sold on the carbon market. The revenue generated will support field activities and benefit local communities.
The first step in developing the carbon program involves a series of studies to inform the design. To design the project, CI has partnered with ACUEDUCTO, a private utility company that provides drinking water and wastewater piping and treatment for the city of Bogotá and surrounding areas. ACUEDUCTO owns land in the corridor and has vested interest in conserving and restoring the corridor, which supplies the water for its operation.
READ MORE: Adapting to Climate Change (Part II)