The Amazon is one of the world’s richest regions in biodiversity, yet fast changes in land use have led to the degradation of important ecosystem services. The small-scale deforestation in Colombia represents around 80%. The largest driver of primary forest depletion are pastureland growth, illicit crop production, and land grabbing. The main challenge in the Amazon landscape is how to generate opportunities for sustainable development that contribute to food security and wellbeing, while safeguarding the natural capital that is required to sustainably manage deforested landscapes. Silvopastoral systems (SPSs) are presented as agroecological solutions that synergistically enhance livestock productivity, improve local farmers’ livelihoods and hold the potential to reduce pressure on forest conversion.

In the framework of the Sustainable Amazonian Landscape Project, SSP were codesigned with farmers, combining scientific and local knowledge, and farmers’ assets, needs and preferences.

SPS improve resilience by promoting agricultural crop diversification using local crop and forage varieties and increasing water availability at the regional level, which contributes to reducing vulnerability to eventual extreme climatic events. SPS has proven to improve socioeconomic indicators at the farm level by increasing milk production by up to 20%, resulting in a 1 to 1.31 increase in the cost-benefit ratio compared to traditional grazing. Even with moderate tree planting densities, the carbon sequestration potential of SPS was estimated at 5.8 Mg CO2 ha-1 yr-1 which, in addition to the reduction of enteric methane emissions, can mitigate GHG emissions by 2.6 Mg CO2e ha−1 yr−1 compared to current practices.

By validating SPS on the ground and assessing the potential of SPS to deliver multiple benefits, the findings of these studies have contributed to public and international cooperation initiatives (e.g. NAMA*, NAPA*, NDC*, Sustainable Bovine Livestock Policy) aimed at enhancing the sustainable use of deforested areas in the Amazon while reducing pressure on forests, GHG emissions and improving smallholder resilience and livelihoods.


Alternative land use, codesing, mitigation and adaptation to climate change

Miguel Romero Sanchez, Marcela Quintero

Presentation within symposium:

S-21 The socio-ecological dynamics of tropical silvopastoral systems

Silvopastoral systems: contributions to the environment and local livelihoods in the Colombian Amazon