Our Finca (2023)

Geographical Location

Our Finca “La Tribu” is situated in the Darién Chocoano region (internationally known as “Chocó-Darién”), in the northernmost part of the Chocó Department in Colombia. The Darién Chocoano is surrounded by water and mountains: to the north-west lies the Darién mountain range (which also forms the border between Colombia and Panama, as well as between South and North America), to the north-east is the Caribbean coast, and to the southeast flows the Atrato River, Colombia’s most voluminous river, with tributaries from some of the world’s most important wetland areas.

Geo-Ecological Significance of the Chocó-Darién

The entire Chocó-Darién region is not only one of the Rainiest but also among the richest in species on the planet and is part of the biodiversity hotspot Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena, stretching from the Pacific coast to the Andean mountain ranges from southern Panama to Peru. Due to their geologically isolated location, the ecosystems in this long coastal strip exhibit an unusual abundance of native species: about a quarter of their flora and fauna live and grow nowhere else. However, hunting and deforestation severely threaten the areas’ ecological balance. In the specific case of Chocó-Darien, massive clearings for timber, agriculture, and traditional hunting remain the most significant human threats. Moreover, political and economic intentions to complete the Pan-American Highway through the rainforest in the Darien-Gap add to these challenges.

Reforestation on Our Finca

Safe Haven for Endangered Tree Species Our Finca makes a special ecological contribution amid this biodiversity hotspot, as we aim to halt the extinction of endangered endemic species by providing a refuge for regional or globally rare, endangered, or threatened species to grow and survive. Thus, their genetic material can multiply naturally in the region and be preserved for future reforestation projects.

Concrete Examples

In one part of the Finca grows a regional palm species, Palma Amarga Sabal mauritiiformis, from whose leaves traditional palm roofs are made. Mature palms can still be seen in the landscape, but young shoots are scarce. Since they are not used as animal feed, they are killed on grazing lands with herbicides. On our Finca, young Palmas Amargas have settled, and as long as we can provide them with sufficient light and space, they and their offspring can survive. The same happens with young Polvillos Handroanthus serratifolius, an internationally highly endangered tree species. They regrow naturally on our Finca, but they currently lack sufficient light and space and thus do not survive. We want to change this.

Please support us in preserving our endangered species on the Finca by adopting a tree!

Ecological Agriculture and Forestry on Our Finca

On our 22-hectare Finca, we practice ecological agriculture, protecting the tropical soils on which we cultivate corn, rice, sesame, cassava, etc. We are also expanding forest areas for ‘food forests’ (learn more in our Substack newsletter on the topic of Tree islands). Were gradually, various fruits such as cocoa, coconut palms, mangoes, breadfruit, coffee, bananas, and plantains grow together with our rare tree species like wild almonds, Algarroba, Bálsamo trees, Mamey Sapote, and many more in a species-rich “multiculti.”

Advantages of Food Forests:

Our Finca can set an example of ecological agriculture and forestry for the entire region. Plant endangered tropical trees with us into a biodiverse food forest by adopting a tree!

The Exact Location:

”La Tribu” is situated 16 meters above sea level at 8°11’ north latitude and 77° west longitude in the Unguía district, Gilgal community, on the floodplains of the Cutí River. The Cutí River originates in the Darién highlands, flows into the Tanela River, and together they flow into the Atrato River, shortly before it empties into the Caribbean Sea in the Gulf of Urabá.

The Story of La Tribu

How We Became "Eco"

On our Finca "La Tribu," we discovered ecological agriculture in 1991, and more importantly, we began regenerating its soils that year. This was a turning point, as we began to produce almost all the food we needed for living in sufficient quantities, without chemicals, slash and burn on the fields before sowing (as traditionally done in this region), and all with less effort than our neighbors.

Nature During the Years of Violence

Unfortunately, five years later, in 1996, the wave of violence that swept across Colombia also reached Chocó-Darién to its full extent. We had to flee the region and abandon our Finca for several years. The ensuing years allowed nature to begin an unparalleled renewal process of the wild flora on our recovered soils.

Joining the Network of Nature Reserves

At the same time, a movement spread across the country and the region aimed at creating private nature reserves to protect regional ecosystems and maintain biological corridors. In 2000, we joined the Colombian Network of Civil Nature Reserves (Red Colombiana de Reservas Naturales de la Sociedad Civil – RESNATUR) with our species conservation project, as well as its regional subgroup, the Network of Civil Nature Reserves of the Caribbean Colombian Dairén (Red de Reservas Naturales de la Sociedad Civil Del Darién Caribe Colombiano - UNGANDÍ).