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Climate Action thanks to Sustainable Land Management on Colombian Farms

First Climate and Carbono Local+ partner cooperate on a pioneering carbon removal project


First Climate and Cologne-based project developer Carbono Local+ are cooperating on an innovative nature-based carbon removal grouped project with great potential in Colombia. In collaboration with more than 60 participating farmers, the project promotes the use of sustainable rotational grazing practices to restore soil quality and enhance the carbon sequestration capacity of degraded agricultural land. Project activities are expected to remove up to 2.5 tonnes of CO2e per hectare annually. As an investor and technical consultant for the project, First Climate will provide advice for the certification process under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). First Climate will be the exclusive partner for marketing the project’s generated carbon credits.


©Montebello Ranch Regenerative agriculture in practice: Various species of cattle grazing on a rotational plot of land on a participant farm, Montebello Ranch, in Santander, Colombia. Key elements of rotational grazing practices can be seen here including different tree species, healthy, abundant grasses and forages, multi-aged herd grazing on lush vegetation, and an example of grazed land in 40-90 -day rest period (in background).

To tackle the widespread problem of soil degradation by overgrazing from livestock, Carbono Local + has been working with its local implementation partner Sosty to promote regenerative livestock management among farmers participating in the project. The new partnership with First Climate will enable the project to reach a new milestone in its development by working towards registration under the Verified Carbon Standard thus secure the necessary funding of the project activities through the issuance and sale of certified high-quality carbon removal credits in the future.


Rotational Grazing for Improved Soil Health


Regenerative livestock practices are being implemented by the project across 14,700 hectares of agricultural land in various regions of Colombia to date. A key element of this is rotational grazing: Livestock graze on one piece of land, before being moved to another grazing area and giving the previous grazing area 40-90 days of rest. This allows living roots to remain year-round in the soil. At the same time, this provides the time needed for microorganisms to replenish and support the soil carbon cycle. This maintains a permanent organic soil cover, minimizing bare ground in the project area and increasing the plant diversity. These practices help to halt the adverse effects of overgrazing on the climate and environment.


“Rotational grazing has a tremendous effect on soil health, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration capacity,” explains Nataly Cubillos, who co-founded Carbono Local+ together with her sister Laura. “It’s our goal with all our partners to support local climate solutions within the agricultural sector to help promote a flourishing soil ecosystem and ensure that the essential components to good soil health, such as microorganisms, fungi, and microfauna, are not depleted. This partnership with First Climate makes us excited about the possibility of scaling our project – their longstanding experience and expertise in carbon project development and voluntary carbon finance will make a positive impact on the project.”


Captions: (1) aerial view of rotational grazing plots (grazed and ungrazed for periods of 40-90 days); (2) Lina Ávila observes cattle rotation during a visit at a participating ranch; (3) cattle grazing behind newly installed electric fences dividing rotational areas; (4) technical site visit and SOC (soil organic carbon) sampling at Javier Lastra Ranch; (5) detail of measurements taken during SOC sampling in February 2024; (6) capacity building for SOC technicians with Diego Mosquera and Disney Boquero; (7) Ranch El Cedro y la Virginia; (8) cows at Rancho Serengueti, ©Pilar Gomez; (9) detail of forage sampling of moriches, ©Juan Carlos Herrara; (10) Manuel Gutierrez of Sosty promoting the project at Bucaramanga Livestock Feria; (11) members of ranching family during SOC sampling at Javier Lastra Ranch; (12) example of biodiversity growth and increased soil fertility due to increased organic manure and urine from grazing livestock; (13) map of all project regions as shown in project validation documentation under review by VERRA. All other images: Carbono Local+ and ©Sosty.


Benefits for Colombian Farms


Currently, Carbono Local+’s project cooperates with more than 50 farms of all sizes across Colombia. In addition to the environmental benefits, the project also yields tangible advantages for the farmers participating in the project. Thanks to the more nourishing forage, livestock meat is higher quality, which will eventually affect the price at which it can be commercialized. Bees and other native plants are returning in larger quantities to the farms, opening the door for new products and income opportunities, such as honey and seeds. To secure sustainability of their land management, farmers participating in the project also make a commitment to not deforest and not use chemicals or fertilizers on their land.


“While it is a sector with high emissions, agriculture can be managed more sustainably. When empowered with the right knowledge, farmers can not only profit from higher quality products but also enhance carbon removals and adapt to the effects of climate change. This is what makes this project so exciting – it’s a real win-win,” explains Lina Ávila, Carbon Project Developer at First Climate.


Partnering for the goals: Carbono Local+ team presents project at First Climate headquaters in Bad Vilbel. Pictured (l-r): Lina Ávila, Carbon Project Developer at First Climate, Laura Cubillos, CEO and Project Manager at Carbono Local+, Nataly Cubillos, CEO, Strategic Development at Carbono Local+.

Carbon finance for the project’s long-term viability


It may seem simple to implement, but introducing regenerative livestock practices requires many changes, both physically on the land and to daily routines. Farmers need to install new fences and water systems, adjust to new time schedules, train cows to new grazing times and locations, and more. Since the transformation from degraded to healthy soils can take several years, carbon finance plays a pivotal role in helping participating farmers cover investment costs and provide them with income sources.


As Carbono Local+’s partner, First Climate will assist with preparing the project for the carbon standard certification process and will also advise on the monitoring, reporting, and verification. In addition to this, the company will also help in marketing the new project to companies worldwide that seek to support climate action with high-integrity carbon credits.


Nataly Cubillos adds, “First Climate shares our mission to bolster the resilience of ecosystems and empower landowners to effectively withstand and mitigate the effects of climate change. With their support, we can direct carbon finance to make this project financially possible for the long-term.”


 

About First Climate

First Climate is a leading global provider of carbon management and renewable energy solutions for corporate and public clients. The company develops and finances verified carbon offset projects around the world. By supporting these projects, companies can reduce their own emissions with an equally beneficial impact on the climate and promote sustainable development in local project regions. With access to a broad network of global partners and expertise in providing renewable energy on demand, First Climate also offers companies customized options for reducing their energy-related carbon footprintwww.firstclimate.com

 


About the Co-Founders

Carbono Local+ co-founders and sisters, Laura and Nataly Cubillos (l-r).

Raised in farming and ranching families, the Cubillos sisters are well versed on the challenges small farmers face in Colombia. Since moving to Cologne, Germany, the engineers and project developers have turned their experience into deeper climate know-how. The duo has received Master of Science degrees in sustainability topics – Nataly in Natural Resources Management and Laura in Renewable Energy – from the University of Applied Science, Cologne. Through the founding of Carbono Local+, Laura and Nataly as Project Leader and Strategic Leader, respectively, promote sustainable agricultural and waste management practices in the Global South.


About Carbono Local+

Carbono Local+ is a purpose-lead project developer based in Cologne, Germany. The company is committed to supporting the development of nature-based and technological solutions in local communities in the Global South through international certification in the voluntary carbon market.


By mobilizing the resources arising from the sale of carbon credits to companies and individuals committed to driving climate action, Carbono Local+ aims to help expand the positive impact of sustainable initiatives in the agricultural and waste sectors. www.carbonolocal.com

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