The Chocó-Darién Conservation Corridor is the first REDD+ project to be issued credits for activities co-designed and implemented on a community-owned, collective land title. The project protects around 13,465 hectares of tropical rainforest in the Darién region of northwest Colombia, one of the most biologically diverse regions on the planet. Developed by Anthrotect, the project is co-designed and managed with COCOMASUR, an Afro-Colombian community association in the municipality of Acandí that received collective title to the project area in 2005. Cattle ranching is very common in Acandí, and there are an estimated 47,000 heads of cattle in the vicinity of the project. Working together, COCOMASUR and Anthrotect have designed a strategy to stop the spread of ranching into the project area, thereby protecting Afro-Colombian livelihoods as well as the forests on which they depend.
Measuring the carbon stored in the forest was an arduous process that would have been impossible without COCOMASUR’s commitment and deep connection to the environment. Working together with engineers and botanists from the Medellin Botanical Garden, community teams identified and measured over 3,000 trees and palms to estimate the amount of carbon stored in their forest. Completing the carbon inventory gave community members the knowledge and skills they need to monitor the forest on a regular basis, in addition to a new appreciation and respect for the forests they call home.
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The project has already reduced emissions of over 100,000 tonnes of CO2 during the first 18 months of the project, and expects to prevent the emission of over 2.8 million tonnes over the 30 year project lifespan.
Colombia is home to over 10% of the world’s plant and animal species despite covering just 0.7% of the planet’s surface, and has more registered species of birds and amphibians than any other country in the world. The Chocó-Darién Conservation Corridor lies along Colombia’s northwest border with Panama, one of the most diverse ecosystems of the American tropics, a recognized biodiversity hotspot, and home to two UNESCO Natural World Heritage sites.
The Chocó-Darién Conservation Corridor REDD+ project protects critical habitat for migratory birds, endemic species with limited distribution, and threatened or endangered species including:
- Great green macaw
- Baird's tapir
- Harlequin frog
- Colombian spider monkey
- Cotton-top tamarin
A total of 86 plant species in the project zone are locally endemic, and 15 plant species are IUCN listed, including a distinctive montane oak forest (Quercus humboldtii). Many plant species in the project area are still unknown to science.
The project is an innovative joint venture between Anthrotect and COCOMASUR, an association of families living along the Tolo River basin. This REDD+ project will provide a stream of income to reinvest in the cultural identity and territorial autonomy of the Afro-descendent communities. The project will support microfinance groups, educate communities in improved forest management and biodiversity conservation, and provide training in sustainable agricultural practices.
So far, the project has created over 40 full and part-time jobs in the community, ranging from managerial positions, to specially-trained staff. For most of these community members, it is their first time ever receiving wages and benefits through formal employment. Women play a special role in the management of the project, occupying most of the top administrative positions. Many of these women had left their children and families behind to work or study outside the region, and returned home because of the opportunities created by the project. In addition, the project will invest in green commodity production and securing markets for other community products. The project’s value chain development approach is designed to develop and support sustainable enterprises, cooperatives, and associations within the territory, creating permanent and sustainable income streams using kick-start carbon finance.
About the Project Developer
Anthrotect was founded in 2007 with the mission of making conservation a viable economic alternative for forest-dependent communities worldwide. We believe that sustainable resource use begins with providing the training and skills that rural communities need to turn their traditional ecological knowledge into a global environmental service. Anthrotect works with Afro-descendant and indigenous landowners in Latin America to design and implement market-based solutions for achieving community-based conservation and sustainable development. Our approach is rooted in strengthening Afro-descendant and indigenous peoples’ capacity to collectively manage their traditional lands.