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Sustainable cattle ranching systems & policy: a case study in Valle del Cauca, Colombia

14 July 2021

Sustainable cattle ranching systems & policy: a case study in Valle del Cauca, Colombia

In the last decades, growing demand for meat and dairy products has resulted in the continued expansion of the area destined to cattle pastures, often converting pristine ecosystems into extensive pasture systems. This has caused increased deforestation, biodiversity loss and higher greenhouse gas emissions.

However, alternatives to extensive systems exist. Practices such as mixed pastures and silvo-pastoral systems have the potential to sustain biodiversity and ecosystem services whilst generating economic and social benefits. But the substantial implementation costs can act as a barrier to take up. Therefore, tools for systematically evaluating environmental, social, and economic benefits of sustainable practices are needed in assisting the transition and co-designing payment for ecosystem services schemes and other financial support measures.

This webinar will present the science, policy, and evaluation behind sustainable alternatives to extensive cattle ranching through a case study in Valle del Cauca, Colombia. The case study will be introduced in the context of global environmental issues such as climate change and deforestation, presenting the benefits of mixed pastures and silvo-pastoral systems. An interactive tool developed as specific response to the need of informing policy making will be described. The tool is based on an extended cost-benefit analysis from observational information on 300 farms in Valle del Cauca supplemented with secondary data.

Gaetano Grilli is senior research associate at the Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE), University of East Anglia (UK). His current work focuses on biodiversity valuation and sustainable development. Gaetano is an applied economist specialising in quantitative methods for environmental and social research. His research interests include ecosystem services valuation, discrete choice models, measurement of wellbeing and inequality, natural capital accounting.

Jaime Erazo is research fellow at the University of the Andes (Colombia). He is an environmental economist who carries out economic analysis for incentives design to promote biodiversity conservation, sustainable use and ecosystem services promotion. He worked with a wide range of stakeholders including cattle ranchers, private reserves, palm oil producers, and environmental authorities, to generate policies and design payment for ecosystem services schemes in Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil.

Juan Andres Cardoso is senior researcher at the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (Colombia) working in the Agricultural Diversity Programme of the GROW Colombia GCRF project. Juan Andres is a plant eco-physiologist working on the growth responses of tropical forages under different edaphoclimatic conditions, and the mechanisms behind such responses. He also conducts research on the beneficial effects of planting tropical grasses on soil health.

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