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Protecting Colombia's wax palm forests

Home of the yellow-eared parrot


The upper basin of the Quindío River has more than 327 fauna and flora species, including the wax palm tree, one of the Colombian national symbols and the tallest recorded palm tree in the world. This strategic ecosystem provides a great supply of water resources, but it has been constantly altered by productive activities such as extensive livestock, high-impact tourism and other land uses that affect its environmental benefits.

The context

According to the IUCN's classification, the wax palm tree and the yellow-eared parrot are in the vulnerable (VU) and endangered (EN) categories, respectively. Likewise, they cohabit the area with the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), the national bird of Colombia that is considered critically endangered (CR). The Quindío River is one of the region's main water sources, supplying water to 55% of the Quindian population in four municipalities: Armenia, Circasia, La Tebaida and Salento. The conservation project area is located in the hydrographic subzone of the La Vieja River spanning 1,000 ha. Conservation actions, based on their ecological value, will be translated into Biodiversity Credits, which will monetize the measurable results obtained in the natural habitat.

The project

The project involves the communities of the Vereda Cocora Medio through the implementation of protection, restoration and productive sustainable activities, e.g. ecotourism. In the remaining forests, 52 bird and 9 mammal species have been established. Some of them are the little red brocket (Mazama rufina), tapir (Tapirus sp), cougar (Puma concolor), nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), forest fox (Cerdocyon thous), gray-bellied night monkey (Aotus lemurinus), tayra (Eira barbara), pacarana (Dinomys branickii) and red-tailed squirrel (Sciurus granatensis). Transitional ecosystems such as the lower montane wet forest (bmh-MB) and very humid forest (bmh-PM) can be found. The vegetation cover is composed of pastures, grasslands, natural forests and secondary forests.

Sustainable activities to be implemented

Due to an integral biodiversity and water conservation strategy (Quindío's water star) currently in place, environmental, social and economic benefits will be generated, and the natural potential of the region will be maximized. The conservation agreements set out with the landowners guarantee the viability of the actions planned, such as restoration, agroforestry systems, sustainable livestock, and ecotourism. To ensure their success, experts from the area have been involved

The benefits

  • Preservation and ecological restoration of 60% of the project area
  • Preservation of water resources.
  • Contribution to the economic, social and environmental development of the area through the implementation of sustainable productive activities.
  • Environmental education with local communities and landowners.
Forest Management Forest Regeneration
Project ID: 2766