Supporting associations

Preserving the last forests for the cotton-top tamarin monkey

Implementing three projects involving agro-forestry, silvopastoralism and the search for economic alternatives to deforestation

Preserving the last forests for the cotton-top tamarin monkey

Project leader
logo Envol Vert

Duration of the partnership
2018 -2020


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The project and its aims

Colombia is one of the world’s most remarkable countries in terms of biodiversity. But this is threatened by agriculture and cattle-breeding. On the Caribbean coast, the dry tropical forest, which is the unique habitat of the cotton-top tamarin monkey, has almost completely disappeared.

Since 2014, Envol Vert has been working on the “Noyer Maya” project with a group of small landless farmers to introduce sustainable agricultural and pastoral systems. In three years, this project, with backing from Man & Nature and the Maisons du Monde Foundation, has enjoyed considerable success: 36ha of forest have been restored and farmers have learned agroforestry skills, set up an association called ASOCALIM and enhanced their living conditions by selling products made from the fruit of their allotments (jams, Noyer Maya products, etc.).

The Noyer Maya, a tree said to have magical properties, was introduced on to the land worked by the farmers because it has the twin advantages of stimulating biodiversity and providing food for man and cattle thanks to its grains and leaves.

The success of the project led Envol Vert to replicate it in three other areas along the Caribbean coast with a view to establishing a network of micro-projects and silovpastoralism and thus amplify the impact.

There are three mutually-beneficial strands to the project:

  • setting up agroforestry and silvopastoral systems, which advance reforestation across 140 ha, and planting more than 80,000 fodder trees, timber trees and fruit trees ;
  • providing training for three new target communities – which are afro-descendant and/or displaced – in sustainable farming techniques and establishing a production chain ;
  • fostering discussions and the application of learnt lessons across groups of small farmers as well as the promotion of knowledge and entrepreneurship by developing similar project.

The objective of this project is nothing less than to bolster civil society (local small farmers, micro-associations and women) by giving communities the tools for managing their futures.

Key project figures after three years (2018–2020) of MDM Foundation support:

  • Six agroforestry and silvopastoral micro-projects launched in three regions;
  • 150 farmers supported in establishing agroforestry and/or silvopastoral systems;
  • 93 hectares reforested between agroforestry systems and conservation corridors through the planting of 15,000 trees, specifically native and endangered species;
  • 88 training sessions delivered on sustainable agricultural techniques that foster environmental conservation;
  • Five out of every six project sites have established value chains;
  • Two project open days organised each year;
  • 30 awareness-raising sessions attended by a total of 667 children and adults.

The MDM Foundation is renewing its support for Envol Vert for a further three years, enabling Envol Vert to continue its efforts to conserve existing forests and boost its reach.

Targets for 2021–2023 :

  • Convert an additional 100 hectares of agricultural land into agroforestry and silvopastoral systems;
  • Restore and conserve 10 hectares of damaged areas;
  • Continue delivering training sessions and raising awareness about environmental and forest conservation issues;
  • Set up a joint monitoring system for Envol Vert and the communities involved in forest conservation;
  • Secure communities’ food sovereignty, and reduce their food expenditure at the same time, through diversification of agricultural and fruit crops;
  • Strengthen already-developed economic activities that are alternatives to deforestation (particularly Maya nut flour, coconut oil, hibiscus flower and mango chutney) and develop new alternatives to provide families with regular income;
  • Develop the Tamandua brand nationally and via additional local distribution channels to sell products from economic alternatives;
  • Create an online platform to enable interested stakeholders to replicate Envol Vert’s methodology and support five local partners on the Caribbean coast in implementing a pilot project to mirror this conservation of dry forests.

The beneficiaries

The beneficiaries of the project are groups of small landless farmers. In these areas the project is geared primarily towards groups of African-Colombian and/or displaced farmers who have been victims of armed conflict. Women will be assigned pride of place in the work. Awareness-raising activities will be run for children and youths.

It is estimated that the project will reach some 90 direct beneficiaries and that 150 families will be indirectly affected thanks to training/awareness-raising actions that will be open to the whole community beyond direct beneficiaries.

Local public authorities will also be targeted by awareness-raising activities about sustainable methods of production. The restoration of the dry forest and its waterways will benefit inhabitants of the entire region, as will the implementation of chains of processed production, which will generate new local consumer products.

What makes the project special

The project is based on participative management and aims to create tools enabling the transfer of skills between Envol Vert and communities and between communities themselves.

Ultimately, the aim of the project is to develop a network along the Caribbean coast of small farmers trained in agro-forestry and the use of Non-Ligneous Forest Products (grains, natural plant extracts, oils, etc.). Positioning small farmers as drivers of knowledge and innovation means actively harnessing and making new use of small farmers’ skills and promoting a strong vision of their place and role in civil society.

Thanks to this organisation we can disseminate the technologies and values that are part of the Envol Vert project here. ASOCALIM is an incredible tool for us when it comes to meeting our obligations to nature.

Victor Olivares vice-president of the ASOCALIM small farmers association supported by Envol Vert
logo Envol Vert

Project leader Envol Vert

Envol Vert is an association created to protect forests and support rural development.

Since 2011, it has been working to preserve forests and biodiversity in South America and France, while creating strong links with local populations to promote their conservation initiatives, participate in sustainable rural development and cultivate economic alternatives to deforestation. Envol Vert is also heavily involved in raising awareness of these issues through education and impact campaigns.

Through the actions of the association, 163,000 trees have been planted in Nicaragua, Peru, Colombia and France.