Conserving oak forests in the Colombian Andes


Boyacá, Santander and Cundinamarca, Colombia

About the project:

At the junction of Colombia’s Boyacá, Santander, and Cundinamarca departments sits the Robles-La Russia-Guantiva-Iguaque Corridor. The remnants of the region's previously vibrant oak forests are scattered through the land, covering at least 170,000 hectares. This corridor is critical for biodiversity: not only is it home to oak trees, but also endangered species unique to Colombia like the gorgeted wood quail, the rusty-faced parrot and the Black Inca hummingbird . But their home is under threat: Only 10% of this unique ecosystem is under some type of protection.

Deforestation occurs frequently in this high Andean forest and is mainly driven by agricultural and livestock activity, the main source of income for most of the local population. Many families in this area also depend on firewood as a source of energy to light their homes and prepare their food. This continuous degradation of the land has produced a growing conflict over natural resources like water, soil, firewood, and fauna.

To prevent depletion of those resources and support the endangered species who live among the remaining oaks, Initiative 20x20 partner Fundación Natura is working to protect this ecological corridor. By establishing silvopastoral systems (adding trees to grazing land to shift demand for wood away from natural forests), the project aims to see a 10% decrease in deforestation within the Robles-La Russia-Guantiva-Iguaque Corridor. Over two years, Fundación Natura has successfully planted 50,000 trees over 500 hectares of land and brought another 1,200 hectares under conservation. The organization has also offered workshops to the surrounding communities so they can learn more about protecting the forests they depend on.

This project also receives revenue from the REDD+ program, which pays people to reduce carbon emissions from forests. With this added source of income, local people are abandoning their old practice of chopping down trees for agriculture and firewood and have embraced a new way to restore and conserve the land without hurting their bottom line.

Investment type


Avoided degradation and deforestation

Media contact:

Sandra Galán, Project Officer, Fundación Natura,