Near Chiribiquete National Park, in the heart of Colombia’s Amazon region, WWF is leading an initiative with local communities aimed at preventing deforestation. What is it, and who are involved? 
The following five key points will help you understand the process:
What does the process consist of? Training leaders to monitor the forest
Two groups of peasants in Caquetá and Guaviare provinces have received eight months’ training as forest monitors, so that they can control deforestation, with emphasis on preventing forest fires. They have learned how to analyze environmental information, use GPS and survey the territory, and about the methodology for sampling and analyzing data. The teams are now ready to start work as forest guardians, and will be remunerated for their work.
Where? In areas with high deforestation levels
In Caquetá and Guaviare provinces, two areas where the highest deforestation indices in Colombia’s Amazon region have been reported in recent years, due to activities like the growing of illicit crops and the expansion of cattle-raising. The pilot project covered around 41,000 hectares, and it is envisaged that this figure will double in a second stage.
  • Cartagena del Chairá, in Caquetá, is the municipality with the highest deforestation levels in the country.
  • According to IDEAM, 178,000 hectares of forest were cleared in Colombia in 2016. 
  • Almost 70% of deforestation is in the Amazon region.

Who? Peasants who were clearing the forest and now want to preserve it
Contrary to popular belief, the Amazon is not inhabited just by indigenous groups, as peasants and settlers who are constantly interacting with the territory also live there. 

The two teams of forest guardians consist of 28 peasants in a region where processes closely related to illicit crops and cattle-raising, which are among the prime causes of deforestation, have traditionally been engaged in. The communities are now becoming ever more convinced of the need to conserve the forest and to promote sustainable use of the territory.  

The teams include women, community leaders and young students.
What for? Local initiatives with enormous impacts.
The impact of the work done by these forest guardians will contribute to initiatives aimed at reducing deforestation in Colombia, and will be key to the conservation of Chiribiquete National Park, because it will help create a barrier to the deforestation that is advancing toward this important protected and enable it to become the biggest tropical national park in the world.
How is this possible? As a part of initiatives under the North Amazon Program

The project is led by WWF Colombia as part of initiatives under the North Amazon Program, with support from WWF Switzerland and UK, and in alliance with KFW and Colombia’s Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development. 

See more pictures here!
The new forest guardians

© WWF-Colombia

Group of forest monitors

© WWF-Colombia