Supporting Zero-Deforestation Cattle in Colombia

Supporting Zero-Deforestation Cattle in Colombia

Author(s): Forest Carbon, Markets and Communities (FCMC)

Publication Date: 2015


Colombia is among the world’s top cattle-producing countries, with more than 23 million head of beef and dairy cattle occupying approximately 38 percent of the total land area. It is challenging to clearly correlate deforestation with specific agricultural commodities in Colombia, but it is increasingly apparent that cattle production or movement of cattle into new areas is an opportunistic response from producers who take advantage of already-cleared land or hope to gain tenure informally by “improving” the land through cattle grazing. This behavior is at odds with government goals to increase productivity and decrease the amount of land under cattle production while increasing the number of hectares of non-livestock based agricultural commodities. Achieving this goal is made difficult by unclear land tenure status and processes, the strong cultural identity associated with cattle production, and local views on what ranching “should” look like, i.e., trees and cattle are seen as incompatible in the landscape.

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