Highlights:




Over 500.000 acres / 200.000 hectares of native forested land at Choco-Darien-Antioquia biogeographical region.




40 millions tons of CO2 avoided surveyed by using REDD + Voluntary Carbon Standard VM007 and CCBA




More than 990.000 trees saved.




Over 2500 families to be benefited.




190 Endangered animal species protected.




80 Endangered plant species safeguarded.



Overview:

The Antioquia-Chocó-Darién Greenbelt Ecosystems Infrastructure Project is the first conservation project in the world to trade carbon credits for building a community-owned Green school, improving cocoa and coffee farming, and conserving community-owned forests. Activities are developed by The Ecotropics group and implemented by Asociación TEOCCIDENTE, an ethnodiverse association of farming families that own private land with native forests. The project expects to conserve and elongate over 200,000 hectares (500,000 acres) of tropical rainforest in the world’s high biodiversity value hotspot. Antioquia-Chocó-Darién region of Andean massif northwest Colombia, is one of the most biologically and culturally diverse regions on earth.



The families of TEOCCIDENTE are building an agenda to consolidate, reconstruct, and reinvent their own territory previously a war-torn area. These forest lands are facing continued illegal logging, high deforestation and degradation rates, severe water stress, illegal gold mining, and land usurpation.

The member associates from the project area, not only suffered the devastation of war, but also income inequality. The latest census indicated that the proportion of people with unsatisfied basic needs is 51%, significantly higher than the 29% national average. Determined to improve their life conditions, they constituted an association called Teoccidente and partnered with The Ecotropics group to develop a REDD plus initiative.
The funds created by Verified Carbon Units will be managed by a fiduciary trust fund and audited quarterly to ensure its effective use. The procurement will be conditioned to debt alleviation, microloans, patrols rovers, sustainable and productive projects, linked to a development plan that includes a green school and a roasting facility to export organic coffee (i.e. eco-industrial cluster).

In the green school the community will widely learn about getting certified USDA organics for coffee and cocoa farming, using the native trees to provide shadow to the crops and farmer harvesters, installing solar pump mills for water irrigation and lighting, mounting clean stoves, fostering coexistence among inhabitants. Additionally, they will understand the whole process from farming to final added value products.

The eco-industrial cluster will allow roasting coffee and deliver cocoa-based products to market based opportunities domestic and overseas. Education and sustainable industrial processing will allow them to deliver high quality products suitable for exports.

Fortunately, On April 17, 2014 the association made a commitment to sustainable manage their forests for the next 30 years.
Join us by funding to complete the baseline study as TEOCCIDENTE implements their own conservation strategy to meet the challenge of avoided deforestation for the greater good.

Biodiversity:

Significant high conservation value areas of this project are within the Chocó-Darien global biodiversity hotspot. For instance, we are surrounded from a large buffer zone that wants to provide structural and functional landscape connectivity among Las Orquídeas and Paramillo National Parks. These neighbor protected areas host different strategic ecosystems being the most extensive the Tropical Forest, Tropical Andean and Sub-Andean Forest and Pacific Forest (Kateman 2011; Villegas et al. 2006).

Paving the way with the support for this project of conservation, for such ecosystem variety, is a priority from the climate change perspective since tree diversity enhances the forest ability for carbon capture, water interception, temperature regulation (Castro-Izaguirre et al. 2016).

The ecosystems present in the project area are also the habitat of several endangered or critically endangered species (Ministerio de Ambiente & Universidad de Antioquia 2015; Ministerio de Ambiente & Universidad Nacional de Colombia 2015; Cárdenas L. & R. Salinas 2007; Ministerio de Ambiente & Universidad Nacional de Colombia 2005). Indeed, there are two critically endangered species existing only in the municipalities of the project area (IUCN 2016). These unique species, are the Masdevallia apparitio (Urrao) and the Zamia wallisii (Frontino and Urrao). The REDD plus initiative will reduce the threat of habitat loss and fragmentation to contribute in endangered species conservation.

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