SNAPP TEAM:Sustainable Cattle Ranching in Colombia
What are the real-world social-ecological outcomes of silvopasture transformation in Colombia? How can this evidence be utilized to inform farm planning tools and policy targets to benefit nature, climate, and human wellbeing?

Globally, livestock production requires vast swaths of land for the grazing of cattle, which can present conservation, climate, and ecological challenges. Clearing land for monoculture pasture can have significant impacts on biodiversity, atmospheric carbon, and landscape cohesion. One possible solution is the use of silvopasture systems (SPS) – the incorporation of trees and shrubs in grazing lands – which are being promoted as a promising alternative to reduce the environmental footprint of pasture monocultures and enhance productivity and climate benefits to farmers and society. Despite these benefits, SPS are not widely adopted, and their potential for scaling is not fully understood. To meet this challenge, we urgently need evidence-based guidance on how to optimally scale up SPS through existing policies, incentives, and implementation efforts to maximize farmer, climate, and conservation benefits.


Our Approach: This working group convenes a coalition of leaders, scientists, and practitioners, who were engaged in one of the largest implementation efforts of silvopasture systems (SPS) in Colombia. The group will explore the real-world drivers and impacts of on-farm SPS adoption, and characteristics of farms and landscapes where win-wins exist across productivity, conservation, and well-being outcomes. Using biophysical and social survey data, coupled with environmental and landscape-level data, the group will undertake trade-off, multifunctionality analyses. The results will evaluate the efficacy of current policies and inform incentive-based certification schemes and farm planning tools promoting SPS to maximize their benefits for people and nature.

Team Status: NEW
Team Critical Challenges: Food and Freshwater, Social Innovations
  • Synthesize a multidimensional dataset from nearly 4,000 farms in Colombia, coupled with spatial modeling to explore real-world drivers of on-farm adoption, evaluate social-ecological impacts, and predict the benefits of silvopasture implementation at landscape scales
  • Based on the science and in collaboration with end-users, co-develop guidance to inform sustainable cattle ranching and climate policies, environmental certification standards, and a farm planning tool to help scale up silvopasture adoption in Colombia and beyond
Lucas Garibaldi
Universidad Nacional de Río Negro
Manuel Gómez Vivas
Colombian Federation of Ranchers (FEDEGAN)
Christina Kennedy
The Nature Conservancy
Silvia Alvaréz
Wildlife Conservation Society
Jacobo Arango
International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), CGIAR Initiative of Livestock and Climate
Carol Tatiana Chamorro Vargas
University of British Columbia
Julián Chará
Center for Research on Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems (CIPAV)
Juliana Delgado
The Nature Conservancy
German Forero-Medina
Wildlife Conservation Society
Karin Frank
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, UFZ
Arturo González Alvarado
Colombian Dung Beetle Collection
Claire Kremen
University of British Columbia
Liliana Mahecha
Universidad de Antioquia
Cecilia Medina Prieto
Colombia Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development
Seth Morgan
The Nature Conservancy
Julian Rode
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, UFZ
Tatiana Rodriguez
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, UFZ
Camila Rodriguez
The Nature Conservancy
Aaron Skinner
University of British Columbia
Alicia Calle
The Nature Conservancy
Paula Casadei
The Nature Conservancy
Jhon Jairo Lopera
Center for Research on Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems (CIPAV)
Claudia A. Medina
Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute
America Melo
The Nature Conservancy
Marcela Munoz Escobar
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, UFZ
Carlos Solis Rojas
The Nature Conservancy
Jeimar Tapasco
International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Tomas Walschburger
The Nature Conservancy
Heidi Wittmer
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, UFZ
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