Skip to main content

Community / Land projects / Towards BIOSmart livestock farming in Colombia: cultural landscapes, silvo-pastoral systems and biodiversity

Towards BIOSmart livestock farming in Colombia: cultural landscapes, silvo-pastoral systems and biodiversity


04/19 - 09/21


This project is part of


Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world with a large 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 appropriate for farming, causing environmental damage through forest clearance, loss of biodiversity and land degradation. Different national initiatives aim to encourage more intensive and 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. However due to cultural and social factors, in combination with possible economic and agronomic influences, uptake remains low and deforestation continues. This interdisciplinary project brings together cultural geography, behavioural economics and ecological expertise from both the UK and Colombia to investigate the cultural and socio-economic reasons for low adoption of silvo-pastoral livestock farming practices that can support livelihood and protect biodiversity. Through farmer interviews and focus groups and existing socio-economic data sets we will develop and test effective mechanisms through dissemination, farmer to farmer engagement and government policy that promote effective uptake and implementation of best practice. Furthermore we will undertake a large scale field trial and quantify the scale dependent benefits of silvo-pastoral practices and forest protection on biodiversity and ecosystem services to provide landscape scale policy relevant guidance on the optimal approaches to promote forest protection and silvo-pastoral implementation at the landscape scale, beyond just the individual farm. These approaches will help sustainably intensify livestock production whilst protecting forests and other natural areas in order to support economic development, biodiversity protection and social wellbeing in Colombia.


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.

External Links