Gran Tierra Energy’s Flagship Environmental Initiative in Collaboration with Conservation International
In 2017, Gran Tierra entered into a partnership with the NGO Conservation International, a non-government organization known for implementing and managing nature conservation projects around the world. This partnership led to the creation of the NaturAmazonas project, a large scale reforestation and conservation project in Putumayo, Colombia.
Gran Tierra has committed to contribute USD $13 million over eight years to NaturAmazonas and it is a key component of the company’s efforts to help restore and to protect the Andes-Amazon corridor, one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. The project emphasizes Gran Tierra’s long-term commitment to responsible resource development as well as our firm belief that our activities and presence should coincide with a healthy environment and prosperous communities.
This initiative has been developed with the participation and support of the Colombia Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development as well as with the participation and support of Corpoamazonia.
Visit the NaturAmazonas website by clicking here: https://www.naturamazonas.org.
Benefits to Local Communities
It is our hope that NaturAmazonas will benefit not only the natural environment but also will bring economic and social development to the Putumayo region in the Post Conflict era. NaturAmazonas has four major components to maximize its benefits for local communities in the Putumayo:
Helps develop partners for current and future conservation efforts
Creates research opportunities for local residents
In 2019, Gran Tierra Energy announced it is expanding the NaturAmazonas project and partnership with Conservation International. This new project called Conservation and Prosperous Communities is designed to promote economic sustainability and conservation for rural communities in Putumayo.
Conservation and Prosperous Communities has included financial and technical support that establishes sustainable agricultural practices, with connections to regional and national markets. This program works to support family food security needs, all while developing zoning areas for forest conservation and restoration activities.
of Agroforestry Systems (AFS) including crops that will provide short and long term benefits to communities
140+ direct employment
opportunities will be created within local communities
will have improved food security and increased income
The Guayuyaco Agroforestry Centre in the town of Piamonte was converted and refurbished from an abandoned social site of a nearby Indigenous Inga community and is capable of growing over one million seedlings each year to support the reforestation initiative. Dozens of women from Miraflores and the surrounding areas carry out planting work at the Guayuyaco Agroforestry Centre. Cacao seedlings are spliced together to develop high quality and resilient varieties of the crop.
The Sacha Wasi Agroforestry Centre located in El Mesón, Villagarzón has a production capacity of one million seedlings per year, a total area of 8.06 hectares, and is designed with spaces to store materials, equipment and supplies. This agricultural-focused nursery includes specific areas for preparation and bagging of the substrate, irrigation, germination, management and sowing modules.
Local residents have been hired for expeditions deep into the Piedmont, collecting and categorizing over 10,000 specimens of native plants. Called Guardians of Botanical Knowledge, these residents are at the same time building their knowledge about the native plants and contributing to the creation of important mapping of the botanical make-up of the forest in their areas. New species of plants, including some that are at risk, have been discovered by the Guardians.
“The Guardians of Knowledge program has been very important in providing income and also learning about our environment. In our organization we have 89 women from three townships. In this area we have a lot of natural resources but not much income, so we are looking to preserve our environment but also generate income.”
SANDRA MILENA PISO CAMAYO, President of the Women’s Organization AMNUOC
Botanical Health Development Through Beekeeping
Thousands of bees swarm around unprotected beekeepers, who are not concerned because these are stingless bees, native to this part of the Amazon rainforest. It had previously been illegal in Colombia to cultivate stingless bees, but Gran Tierra worked with the Colombian authorities to change the regulations to allow local people to engage in this important line of sustainable production through the company's NaturAmazonas program. The bees pollinate plants and trees, supporting reforestation and contributing to botanical health while also producing honey for the farmers—a valuable, durable commodity with appeal in both local and national markets.
There is a high demand for stingless bee syrups, which have a number of different flavours, and keepers can also rent the bees out to local farmers for pollination, providing yet another stream of income. The association of beekeepers continues to grow, with over 300 current members having been trained and certified. Participants are selected based on the optimal distribution of bees and trees for future reforestation.