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Integrating farming and páramo conservation: A case study from Colombia

Robineau O., Chatelet M., Soulard C.T., Michel-Dounias I., Posner J.. 2010. Mountain Research and Development, 30 (3) : p. 212-221.

The Colombian environmental policy voted in 1993, which aimed to strengthen the protection of natural resources, particularly biodiversity and water, is totally unfavorable to farming in the strategic paramo ecosystem. However, many rural development practitioners and researchers believe that integrated management of the paramo is possible and that farming activities can be part of the solution along this agriculture¿conservation frontier. This issue has become particularly acute on the Rabanal paramo(western cordillera), in Colombia, where the projected expansion of a core protection zone will soon include major areas currently used for agriculture and settlements. Although small-scale farmers have been living there for decades, the environmental authorities are intent on prohibiting farming activities in the entire protection area. A study of local history and aerial photos indicates that this zone has been a dynamic part of local farming systems since at least the 1950s and that the paramo has evolved from a subsistence farming area to a zone that now includes intensive potato production conducted by external entrepreneurs. The presence of these entrepreneurs is mainly due to small-scale farmers' need for a cost-effective solution to maintain the productivity of their pastures. By interviewing participants in the debate, as well as by mapping agricultural land that will soon be included in the protected area, objectives for action were developed that would result in more sustainable farming practices, thus enhancing the conservation of paramo biodiversity and water resources. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : colombie

Thématique : Agriculture - Considérations générales; Histoire; Conservation de la nature et ressources foncières

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