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Magdalena Valley, Colombia

TiME will expand the El Silencio reserve by purchasing a 58-hectare site in the threatened Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena biodiversity hotspot. This expansion makes the reserve much more interesting as an ecotourist destination and of greater interest to national and international researchers, such as primatologists or ornithologists. Development will be carried out with limited impact on the environment and in collaboration with the local community, for which it could generate employment opportunities.

Raised

$70,000 US

The Habitat

The ecosystems of the Middle Magdalena Valley (MMV) belong to the threatened Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena biodiversity hotspot and have high endemism and diversity.

The 58-hectare parcel of land that TiME purchased includes: 1) two very well-preserved forest patches (11.5 and 18.4 ha), where we have recorded the presence of many animals, including Blue-billed curassows; 2) a secondary forest to the north (6.5 ha); 3) a connecting 30 m corridor of grasslands; and 4) an isolated grassland to the east for the restoration and protection of wetlands. 

Ecoregion: Magdalena-Urabá moist forests (NT0137)

Local Partner NGO

Status of registration of the group at the national level

Nonprofit, nongovernmental organization (NGO) in Colombia

Governance and management structure of the group

The foundation is run by our president (Fernando Arbeláez), who reports to a board of directors composed of nine people. Management decisions are made at this level. There are also three administrative staff, including our forest guard, and 11 associated researchers who are involved in various projects. All, except administrative staff, are volunteers. Every year an external auditor verifies our annual financial report and accounting and certifies that it complies with Colombian regulations. We are also under the supervision of the Department of Legal Entities of the City Hall of Bogotá, to which we report annually. We provide periodic and detailed technical and financial reports to our donors, who can attest to our sound financial management and reliability.

 

Conservation Plans

Ecotourism: This expansion makes the reserve much more interesting as an ecotourist destination. Tourists would enjoy excursions into the forest as well as ecofriendly boat excursions (e.g., canoe trips). Development will be carried out with limited impact on the environment and in collaboration with the local community, for which it could generate employment opportunities.

Visiting researchers: A larger reserve will also be of greater interest to national and international researchers, such as primatologists and ornithologists. A stable group of resident researchers, or ones that return on a regular basis, is a reliable source of income and information. At present we have arrangements for researchers with students to visit the reserve and use our existing research station, and we envisage an expansion of such arrangements.

Sustainable productive practices: We aim to research sustainable productive practices, including sustainable agroforestry, non-timber products and silvopastoral systems. These practices would not only serve as demonstrations or pilot projects for local landowners but would also generate income for the reserve while restoring the soils, protecting water courses and promoting biodiversity.

Friends of El Silencio: We will set up a fundraising scheme, whereby the public can become “friends” of the reserve for a monthly fee, endowing them with benefits (for example, a number of free nights at the reserve). We want to set this up as a tax-deductable venture, which is especially attractive for companies.

Payment for environmental goods and services, including carbon capture: In 2018 FBC is starting a carbon project in the Barbacoas area, funded by ISA, a Colombian electricity company, and in collaboration with South Pole and Panthera Foundation.The purpose is to generate incentives for conservation (avoiding deforestation), restoration and more sustainable practices for landowners through the verification and allocation of VCS/CCBS carbon credits. This project will not only contribute to our regional conservation and restoration plans but will also provide a regular income for the reserve and other projects in the area. We have also been discussing with the municipality the possibility of creating tax exemptions for conservation, using Barbacoas as a pilot area.