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Certificate Program Field Course: Conservation, restoration, and sustainable use in practice (Colombia)


This course is offered to current and past participants of ELTI's Tropical Forest Landscapes online certificate program

Tropical Andean ecosystems are known for their important biodiversity and endemism given the region’s numerous valleys, canyons, plateaus, and complex river systems. This region is also the most densely populated and economically active area in Colombia, which explains why it has lost more than 75% of its original forest cover due to cattle ranching, agriculture, mining, urbanization, and other drivers of land degradation.

ELTI works in collaboration with the Center for Research on Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems (CIPAV) to empower people to become responsible stewards of the land by integrating the principles of ecological restoration, agroecology, and sustainable livestock production. This approach, known as Agroecological Restoration, is based on careful planning to enhance land use efficiency and release marginal land for restoration.

Over six days, participants will deepen their understanding of sustainable land use and restoration by visiting demonstration sites, learning about agroforestry, silvopastoral, and restoration practices, and understanding the role of participatory research and generational exchange. They will also learn how Agroecological Restoration empowers landowners and communities to enhance climate change resiliency and productivity while contributing to biodiversity conservation.

By interacting with farmers and local community members who have transitioned to sustainable land use practices and are committed to conservation, participants will learn about the values and motivations of people who have worked hard to enhance their livelihoods and the environment.

This course will be held at two sites of ELTI’s Colombian Andes training landscape in Valle del Cauca: El Hatico Nature Reserve and the Smallholder Community of Bellavista. ELTI’s training landscapes provide experiential, place-based learning opportunities, that facilitate engagement and support the application of knowledge.



  • Meet and learn from researchers, local landowners, and community leaders involved in sustainable land use, conservation, and restoration.
  • Enjoy the fertile Cauca River valley and the biodiverse Cordillera Occidental (western Andes).
  • Learn about the history and evolution of intensive silvopastoral systems from the experts who developed this practice.
  • Understand the power of agroecology and ecological restoration to transform livelihoods and landscapes.
  • Participate in the development of a restoration diagnosis and farm plan.

Location: Valle del Cauca, Colombia
Duration: 6 days
Cost: $2000 USD*

Sample Itinerary:

Day 1 – Arrival in Cali and travel to hotel close to El Hatico Nature Reserve
Day 2 – Introduction to sustainable land use and its role in conservation and restoration in Colombia
Day 3 – Agroecology, silvopastoral systems, and farm-scale restoration
Day 4 – Participatory research, agroforestry, water sovereignty, and rural livelihoods
Day 5 – Links between agroecology, sustainable cattle ranching, and ecological restoration
Day 6 – Final discussions and return to Cali

*Fee includes in-country transport from Cali, course materials, accommodations, room and board. The course fee does not include travel cost to and from your site of departure and Cali or other associated fees (such as visa and vaccinations). A limited number of partial scholarships are available to cover part of the course fee. There will be a short application process.