Sustainable intensification for complex landscapes – the case of the Llanos in 
Colombia: big risks, big benefits?

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This presentation is trying to re-think investment: how the Llanos region can be understood as a business, what their goals, risks and solutions are.

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Sustainable intensification for complex landscapes – the case of the Llanos in 
Colombia: big risks, big benefits?

  1. 1. Re-thinking investment: Sustainable intensification for complex landscapes – the case of the Llanos in Colombia: big risks, big benefits?
  2. 2. The “Llanos”: Agribusiness on the rise! Multiple ecosystems, medium to large farms and industrial crops One challenge: sustainable development by preserving/ improving ecosystem services in complex landscapes
  3. 3. The Llanos region
  4. 4. Llanos is not the Cerrados! Challenge is bigger - production affected by poorer soils and limited infrastructure and access to inputs and services Sustainable agriculture must be developed for local conditions
  5. 5. Ultimate Goal To partially transform the country’s vast and largely undeveloped eastern plains by establishing sustainable agriculture in the region
  6. 6. Main message Challenge is big, but possible to overcome through a shared commitment on eco-efficiency from the research (based on applicable principles - not recipes), government, and private sectors, including NGOs (working in conservation)
  7. 7. Can evidence based research help different investors take sustainable solutions to scale?
  8. 8. Research for sustainable solutions • Traditional approach: solid results! Research line Results Crops (maize, soybean) Cattle Two fold increase in productivity by improving (re-building!) top soil conditions From 0.2 heads / Ha (native savanna) to 2-3 heads / Ha (improved pastures) Rubber Rice Sugarcane etc… Evaluation of clones Breed for varieties resistant to diseases Adaptation of for bioethanol production etc…
  9. 9. Research for sustainable solutions • Research for eco-efficient agriculture in practice: Research line Ecosystem services Results Soil restoration to bring savannahs commercial agriculture while increasing soil C stocks C sequestration and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions with improved management (mostly in pastures and perennial plantations) Map of C stocks in the soils as result of combined natural and anthropogenic factors! Impact of agriculture on quality of production plots, forests and wetlands Land-use planning: No-go zones, protection of critical ES sources
  10. 10. Risks Action Potential Conversion of native savannas Loss of natural habitats, flora, to industrial agriculture fauna and multiple ecosystems services Unsustainable land-use Lands unproductive and practices exhausted Large-scale monocultures Environmental impacts and risks (e.g., over-reliance on chemical fertilisers and pesticides) Expansion of new crops in the Industrial use rather than food region (e.g., sugarcane for bio-ethanol, soybean for livestock feed)
  11. 11. Rethinking Investment • Government – Food security, GDP growth – Rural job generation (3.5m in the Llanos) – Infrastructure – Environmental protection • Private Sector – Profit – Long term sustainability from high initial investments

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