100,000 trees have reached maturity from our tree planting programmes in Colombia. In addition to this, five nurseries have been created. The legacy continues with sixty graduates of agroforestry training programmes taking what they have learnt and spreading the important message of sustainability.
Colombia still has over sixty percent forest coverage, but these forests are now under significant threat as improper harvests continue, carried out by people who rely on selling trees for their livelihood. In addition to this, deforestation is becoming a significant issue as many families rely on the harvested wood as a fuel source.
A common problem associated with deforestation is its impact on water supplies. In regions of Colombia where deforestation is progressing at an alarming rate, water supplies are now being polluted and damaged. Soil is eroded and natural springs are drying up.
As a result of the deforestation and associated issues, our partnership organisations committed to a programme in Urrao, an area found in the Antioquia province.
In the highest slopes of this region, páramos, an alpine tundra ecosystem (specific to the northern Andes) provides water to local people. Deforestation and the effect of farms located on these steep slopes have polluted the waters, and by the time they reach the valleys and communities dependent upon it, the water is polluted by pesticides and heavy with sediment from soil erosion.
Special recognition must be given to our local field technician Juan Alberto, whose dedication and commitment to the teaching of agroforestry techniques has been the main component in the project’s success. His work has resulted in sixty local people graduating from the agroforestry training course.
Juan Alberto’s generosity in sharing his skills and knowledge with the five project communities has meant the creation of five community nurseries, and the ability to distribute 50,000 seeds. In each community project worm composting has also begun to continue to improve the condition of the soil, and our partners are also working with local producers and farmers to encourage the planting of high value crops.
In fields throughout Urrao nearly 100,000 trees planted by our partner organisations survive. Farmers, from their fodder plots, now harvest animal feed, and coffee plants are being transplanted to ensure new shade coffee systems are established on these high slopes.