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Community / Land projects / RCUK-CIAT Newton Fund Towards BIO-smart livestock farming in Colombia: cultural landscapes, silvo-pastoral sys

RCUK-CIAT Newton Fund Towards BIO-smart livestock farming in Colombia: cultural landscapes, silvo-pastoral sys


04/18 - 04/19


This project is part of


Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world with a rural population of small-holder, low income farmers. As the demand for meat and dairy increases, livestock farming continues to expand onto land that is not apt for farming, causing environmental damage through forest clearance, loss of biodiversity and land degradation. Different national initiatives aim to encourage more sustainable farming that support farmers' livelihoods, and protect the environment and its rich biodiversity. Silvo-pastoral farming is one of those initiatives as it combines forestry and grazing. The international Centre for Tropical Agriculture CIAT runs two interrelated projects, "Livestock Plus" and "Sustainable Amazon Landscapes" to encourage the adoption of silvo-pastoral farming. However, farmers find silvo-pastoral farming changes the landscape of their farm in ways that conflict with their ideas of what 'a good farm' should look. These social factors, in combination with possible economic and agronomic influences, may limit the uptake of sustainable silvo-pastoral practices. This interdisciplinary project brings together cultural geography, environmental economics and agricultural ecology to investigate the cultural and socio-economic reasons for low adoption of silvo-pastoral livestock farming practices that have been designed to protect and restore biodiversity in Colombia. It will also quantify the benefits of silvo-pastoral farming for plant and insect biodiversity, both for their intrinsic value but also the contribution it may make to support long-term sustainable production. In doing so, this research will provide evidence to underpin effective policy that allows intensification of livestock farming while supporting environmental priorities. This may encourage farmers to adopt more sustainable and biodiversity enhancing silvo-pastoral systems.


The Newton Fund builds research and innovation partnerships with developing countries across the world to promote the economic development and social welfare of the partner countries.

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