Supporting associations

Protecting the páramos, some of the world’s most unique ecosystems

Supporting indigenous communities, guardians of the forests in the Colombian Andes, in the protection of the páramos

Protecting the páramos, some of the world’s most unique ecosystems

Project leader
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Duration of the partnership


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The project and its challenges

The páramos, or alpine tundra, are rare ecosystems that are threatened by climate change and the expansion of agricultural land

Colombia is the fourth country in the world most affected by deforestation, even though it is the second richest in biodiversity after Brazil. Nearly 200,000 hectares of forest disappear there every year, mainly due to intensive farming and livestock activities. This mass deforestation, particularly in the Andean region, has an impact on the páramos. Located between 3000 and 4000m above sea level, these mountain ecosystems, which are the most biodiverse ecosystems on earth, feature particularly high levels of endemic wildlife and a large water storage capacity. As a result, they supply up to 70% of local communities’ drinking water across the country.


Reducing anthropogenic pressure on forests and the páramos by developing silvopasture and planting endogenous trees

Alongside Impulso Verde Kuaspue, HUMY is committed to protecting and restoring the ecosystems of the páramos and the high Andean forests in Colombia, particularly in the south-west of the country in the Chile-Cumbal complex and the Páramo de la Paja Blanca Regional Natural Park. This páramo, which supplies nearly 100,000 people with drinking water, has already lost a quarter of its original area in 10 years. The project carried out by HUMY and its local partner, Impulso Verde, is therefore about improving the capacity of local community associations to produce and plant endogenous species in damaged páramo areas. It also aims to promote the development of a sustainable breeding model, silvopasture, which can be applied to more than 40,000 of the region’s dairy producers in the medium term. In this regard, raising awareness and involving the peasant and indigenous Pasto communities are important matters of the project to ensure its sustainability.


The MDM Foundation is supporting HUMY in its community reforestation programme. The funds provided will make it possible to:

  • Improve the existing network of tree nurseries by embedding three new community associations (including a new urban educational tree nursery);
  • Provide technical training within tree nurseries to produce quality endogenous plants;
  • Train small-scale dairy farmers in the region in silvopasture and implement a pilot project on 20 of their plots;
  • Plant 120,000 endogenous trees in the high Andean forest and in the drainage basins and restore 10 hectares of páramo;
  • Protect several endangered species of flora and fauna, such as grey-breasted mountain toucans, mountain tapirs and spectacled bears, with the latter being the only species of bear in South America.


152 members of the 7 community associations (70% of whom are women) will benefit from the consolidation and professionalisation of the Impulso Verde tree nursery network.

200 dairy farmers will be trained in silvopasture and nearly 300 small-scale farmers will receive trees free of charge to reforest their farms. Trees will also be given to neighbouring municipal bodies to reforest communal lands and/or small bodies managing village drinking water to protect water sources and drainage basins.

Finally, 1000 children from local communities and Cali will be made more aware of biodiversity and the forests surrounding them.

The project will indirectly benefit the 160,000 inhabitants of the nine villages supplied with drinking water by the páramos of Paja Blanca and the Chile-Cumbal complex.

The pros of the project

Through their technical and financial support, HUMY and its local partner Impulso Verde are improving the organisational capacities of the community associations that are members of the tree nursery network. In particular, the extension of the reforestation programme has helped tree nursery production activity progress, thereby guaranteeing regular income for the families involved. The association is therefore helping the local population become financially independent, while protecting the surrounding biodiversity.

“Help us work with the pasto indigenous communities to protect the biodiversity of this unique ecosystem!”

Luisa Delgado project manager
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Project leader HUMY

Established in 2006, the HUMY association implements environmental development projects on remarkable natural sites that are recognised as hotspots of global biodiversity. It works with a network of local partners to together build solutions for improving rural living conditions.