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Tolima Habitat Bank

Aligning sustainable initiatives to protect threatened cloud forests and unique wildlife


After years of displacement due to the Colombian armed conflict, residents of Villa Rica in the Department of Tolima are finally able to return to their properties. However, with this return, pressure on the exceptionally biodiverse local ecosystem, the Galilea Forest, is increasing due to the growing demand for natural resources and unsustainable land management practices. Urgent action needs to be taken to protect the ecosystem so it can continue to provide vital services for the local communities and wildlife alike.


Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung

Zero Hunger

Over 95 hectares

used for sustainable growing

Clean Water and Sanitation

10 streams cleaned and protected

improving conditions in the Prado river basin

Decent work and economic growth

Over 10 local families

initially benefit from the conservation activities

Climate Action

276,000 tonnes of CO2e

avoided by creating a protected buffer around the Galilea National Park

Life on land

400+ species

of flora and fauna protected within the project area, including species classified as critically endangered

Life on land



The Solution

Located in the buffer area of the Galilea Regional Natural Park, the project is part of a regional strategy to promote the conservation of the Andean forest and improve the ecosystem services and exceptional biodiversity in the region. Specifically, through the project, local landowners’ have committed to protect the last fragments of primary forest in eastern Tolima. The Habitat Bank-type strategy used by the project gives them the possibility to implement long-term payment-for-results strategies that produce net gains in biodiversity and help improve other ecosystem services. The specific conservation activities will be developed in alignment with plans established by the national government and environmental authorities and the University of Tolima will carry out research to improve the impact of the activities.


The Impact

Through this project, the area’s spectacular biodiversity can return and thrive, for example, the endemic tree frog (Hyloscirtus bogotensis), the glass frog (Centrolene daidalea) and the oncilla (Leopardus wiedii). The project area is also part of a wildlife corridor for iconic species such as the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) and the jaguar (Panthera onca). It’s important not to forget that at the heart of this biodiversity project, are the communities who live in and around the project area. While delivering environmental impacts such as habitat connectivity, net gains in biodiversity and protection of the remnants of cloud forest in the area, the local community also benefits. Ecosystem services are improved, like the availability of freshwater and jobs and sustainable initiatives like beekeeping and a forest ranger programme have been put in place. Governance in the territory is improved and the project contributes to national peace-building initiatives and a reduction of social conflicts. This important project represents an opportunity to ensure conservation actions in the territory are financially viable over the long term.

How do our biodiversity credits work?

The biodiversity credits generated by this project allows companies to take responsibility for their environmental impacts and invest in the preservation of natural capital, supporting the development of rural communities and protecting biodiversity in an effective and measurable way.

South Pole's biodiversity, ecological connectivity and landscape strategy is focused on long-term impact. Matching our technical experience in conservation, restoration and implementation of sustainable activities with the specific social dynamics of the communities we work is a recipe for a successful, transformative project.

​Project Partner

We work with the following partner on this project:

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Project ID: 302439

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