Protecting biodiversity through Colombian communities

Researchers undertaking biodiversity research in Colombia

The GCRF-funded GROW Colombia programme has trained former guerrilla fighters as citizen scientists, built capacity to tackle illegal wildlife trade and strengthen online resources for biodiversity, and is informing Colombia’s National Development Plan.

Colombia's abundant flora and fauna include around 10 percent of all known species on earth – up to 55,000 species of animals and plants. The GCRF-funded GROW Colombia programme, led by Professor Federica di Palma at the Earlham Institute, focuses on biodiversity to support peaceful, sustainable development following the 2016 peace agreement.

The GROW Colombia programme has trained former FARC-EP guerrillas as citizen scientists to carry out species surveys and explore opportunities for conservation and ecotourism. Students, civil servants and NGOs have been trained in using 'metagenomics' in a site to tackle international illegal trade in wildlife, and a 2018 cyberinfrastructure workshop led to the formation of a 16-strong consortium of Colombian institutes, C3Biodiversidad, looking to build capacity in this area and a White Paper to inform future government policy. In 2019 Professor Di Palma was appointed by the Government of Colombia to the Misión de Sabios (International Mission of Experts); the group will provide recommendations for a road map which will be incorporated into Colombia’s next National Development Plan.

Watch a film about the 'Peace with nature' project 

Film about GROW Colombia 'Peace with nature' project © Global Challenges Research Fund, 2020.
Filmed and edited by Jon Spaull.

GROW Colombia

Project lead: Professor Federica Di Palma, University of East Anglia
International and UK co-leads: Wilfried Haerty, Earlham Institute; Ian Barnes, Natural History Museum; Martha Vives, Universidad de los Andes; Mailyn González, Humboldt Institute; Jacobo Arango, CIAT; José de Vega, Earlham Institute; Kerry Turner, University of East Anglia; Silvia Ferrini, University of East Anglia; Corrado Di Maria, University of East Anglia; Jaime Góngora, Sydney University
Colombia partners include: University of Los Andes; International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT); Humboldt Institute; Minciencias; AGROSAVIA; Amazonic Institute of Scientific Research (SINCHI); Rosario University; Cenicaña; The Marine and Coastal Research Institute (INVEMAR); Environmental Research Institute of the Pacific (IIAP); National Natural Parks
Call: GCRF Growing Research Capability



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