Colombia is located in the northwestern part of South America and is bordered by Panama in the north. Colombia shares a border with its neighbouring states, Ecuador and Peru, in the southwest and is bordered by Brazil in the southeast and by Venezuela in the northeast. The areas farmed by ForestFinance are situated in the eastern part of the country, close to the “Llanos” (“the Plains”) in the Vichada region.
Most of the around 70,000 inhabitants of the second largest region of the country are fishermen, farmers or cattle breeders who live in the wide and sparsely populated areas. Since 1886, Colombia is a democratically constituted republic in which the president holds a strong position.
Many forests in Vichada have been, and to some extent, still are destroyed by the slash-and-burn method in order to gain farmland. To improve the conditions of food crops the cattle farmers leave the ash behind. However, this is only a short-term solution. In the long run, this method severely harms the soil through erosion. Since 2006, the Colombian government actively supports reforestation in this region in order to counteract this detrimental development. Over 60,000 hectares have already been reforested with mostly tropical pine trees, Acacia mangium but also jatropha plants. 160,000 more hectares in Vichada are planned for 2019.
The river “Elbita” (little Elbe) flows closely to our GreenAcacia forest areas and was probably named by Alexander von Humboldt who, at that time, was on an expedition in Vichada. The river banks are an ideal refuge for many plants and animals that have become rare in Colombia. For this reason, the whole area is now classified as a conservation area by the Colombian government, which is practically unique. Such amount of biodiversity will help us build mixed forests again in the next 50 to 100 years.
According to the Federal Foreign Office, Colombia is one of the countries in Latin America with the highest economic growth rate (as of 2016). The main drivers for the Colombian economy are increasing domestic demand combined with high foreign direct investments. Free trade agreements with the EU and the United States further boost economic growth. Safety in Colombia has much improved lately, resulting in a positive impact on the development of agriculture and forestry. The government offers, among other things, tax benefits for reforestation.
The Acacia mangium forest areas are situated in the eastern part of Colombia where many forestry companies do business. ForestFinance and local authorities are currently discussing the implementation of projects in the field of: energy generation (biomass power plants), processing of wood, construction of sustainable housing and labour force from regions with a high unemployment rate.