For years, cattle farming and agricultural activities have been the predominant industries in Antioquia, Colombia. Today, the Vegachi project has developed a new agroforestry culture by emphasizing the high value of sustainable forest management. Local communities receive training in forest management, soil conservation and the production and processing of forest products.
The project area is over 1,600 acres, and local communities have planted both native and endangered species in this space. They have planted native species such as Cedar trees, Walnut tress, Paco, and Guaiacum. Additionally in a joint effort with the Botanical Garden of Medellin, they have planned endangered species from the Magnoliaceae family.
This project tackles unemployment and improves general living conditions in the region. The project not only offers direct employment to the local population, but also economic alternatives in the service sector. The initiative provides health care, education, improved infrastructure and new working equipment, which in turn benefit the workers and families.
Project impacts and benefits:
- Several permanent jobs for locals have been generated, and training and technology transfer workshops implemented.
- Training workshops on monitoring and conservation of species have been conducted.
- The project directly strengthens the conservation of several species of Colombian endangered endemic trees.
- Reforestation will establish a good root system and develop leaf litter layers, all of which helps to conserve and enrich soil fertility and prevent soil erosion.
- The project plays a significant role in reducing the runoff of water, helping to conserve the water supplies within the hydrological systems. In addition, the subsoil water table recharge will be improved, facilitating improvements in tree growth on the project site.
- Patches of natural forests in the project area are kept as conservation area to support natural ecological succession and biodiversity.