Community forestry: challenges and opportunities for Colombian forests

  • Year

    2019 – 2021

  • Location


  • Partners

    Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, ONF Andina

  • Budget

    EUR 100 000

  • Funded by

    EU REDD Facility


In 2020, Colombia formalised its National Policy for Deforestation Control and Sustainable Forest Management (CONPES 4021, 2020). In line with the NDC, this national policy aims to reduce by 30% the deforestation projected for 2022 in the country. It also seeks to reduce deforestation to 100 000 hectares/year or less by 2025 and achieve the national target of net-zero deforestation by 2030. CONPES 4021 is aligned with the actions planned under the 2018 Comprehensive Strategy for Deforestation Control and Forest Management, where sustainable forest management is planned to play a key role in reducing deforestation. Indeed, natural forests cover 52% of Colombia’s continental area. One of the main challenges in managing this great woodland potential and diversity is to develop a viable model of sustainable use that improves the quality of life of the communities that inhabit these natural forests. Nearly 26 million hectares of Colombian forests are on collective lands. Community forestry is therefore a fundamental element in the fight against deforestation in Colombia.

The objective

To support the Colombian Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, the EU REDD Facility and ONF Andina collaborated to:

  • Facilitate dialogue between actors at the national level on the technical and financial challenges of community forestry, and influence public policies
  • Provide technical inputs and relevant data for the actors of the sector, in particular forest communities
  • Support the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development in building databases and generating information to facilitate decision making and improve transparency

National Technical Roundtable for Community Forestry, 2022

The challenge

The Government and international donors support various sustainable forest management projects and programmes. However, the sector is still characterised by high levels of informality, as well as by the limited technical and financial capacity of communities to carry out large-scale sustainable community forestry projects and achieve REDD+ objectives.

The approach

Since 2019, the EU REDD Facility has been carrying out initiatives to facilitate dialogue between key stakeholders in the sector at the national level. It has also conducted technical analyses and promoted the gathering of information to improve knowledge of the technical and financial challenges facing communities and the sector in implementing community forestry activities.

In 2019, the EU REDD Facility and ONF Andina carried out a study to analyse and propose adjustments to the existing credit lines (and their eligibility criteria) to stimulate sustainable community forest management in Colombia. The study sought to:

  • Characterise the economic dimension of the value chain of sustainable community forestry
  • Identify financing options
  • Provide recommendations for adjustments to the current credit lines
  • Propose mechanisms to articulate the credit lines with other financial instruments for sustainable community forest management

The study was shared with the various stakeholders and donors in the sector through the National Technical Roundtable on Community Forestry, led by the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development. This first step enabled the identification of several priority issues to explore further with the other participants of the roundtable. As a second step and as of 2021, dialogue was encouraged, as was the proposal of solutions and mechanisms to facilitate the successful implementation of community forestry to reduce deforestation. One of the first results of this second phase, the EU REDD Facility supported the publication of a catalogue of existing community forestry projects and programmes in Colombia, and an analysis of their characteristics. This provided the basis to build a first database by gathering information from all the national and international entities implementing community forestry programmes in the country.

Forest harvesting by the peasant association Ecoserranía, municipalities of Segovia and Remedios, Colombia, 2021

Next steps

Currently, the EU REDD Facility is supporting the Government and the National Technical Roundtable on Community Forestry with the generation of information related to strategic issues for the sector. These include the forestry tax and the creation of financial mechanisms for community forestry, as well as the drafting of guidelines for the development of forest management plans for Colombia’s regional environmental authorities.