What do we do

/What do we do
©Jan R. Baiker

About Andean Forests

The Andean Forests Programme is a regional initiative that helps the Andean population living in and around the Andean forests to reduce its vulnerability to climate change and to receive social, economic and environmental benefits from the conservation of the Andean Forests. In order to achieve this goal, information is generated and disseminated using the research conducted in the Andean forests which detects, validates and shares the existing good practices which will eventually be taken to a political level. The goal of this programme is to raise regional, national and local interest in the conservation of the Andean forests and to promote synergies between strategies for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The Andean Forests Programme, as part of the Global Programme Climate Change of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), combines expertise, practical relevance and the establishment of regional and international guidelines on the subject. It contributes to and is based on existing successful experiences from specialized actors in international agendas on the issue of forests and climate change.

The Objective

Its object is to contribute with the improvement of climate change adaptation and mitigation capacities by developing and scaling up policies, practices, tools and successful incentive schemes in the Andean region relevant to the sustainable management of Andean forests.

© Verónica Gálmez.

Expected Impacts

Number of families

that implement practices aimed at reducing vulnerability to climate change through sustainable management practices in the Andean Forests.

Number of hectares

of Andean forests under sustainable land management practices that support biodiversity, store carbon and improve the quality of life of local people.

Number of organizations,

projects, programmes that replicate and/or scale up actions promoted by the Andean Forests Programme.

Number of platforms and/or policies

in which the Andean Forests have been visualized/included and in which they are globally recognized as priority landscapes to reduce climate change impacts.

Lines of intervention

1. Applied research

The research promoted by the Andean Forests Programme emphasizes on the generation of integrated knowledge relating key environmental and social patterns and processes to sustainably preserve and manage the remnants of Andean forests and their landscapes. The research programme has two main starting points:

Bridge knowledge gaps related to the structure and function of the Andean forests ecosystems

Specifically, it seeks to characterize the links between biodiversity and carbon dynamics along the environmental gradients present in the Andeans mountain range. It is expected that the scientific knowledge generated from these ecosystem dynamics will strengthen the existing strategies for sustainable land management to promote synergies between climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.

Have a better understanding of the social and environmental context

in which decisions on how to use the resources of actors in the field are structured, and how these decisions relate to the processes that generate goods and ecosystem services.

The research component strategies are:

Continuous monitoring systems on ecosystem dynamics of the Andean forests at learning sites.

Andean monitoring networks to generate information on sensitivity and exposure of Andean ecosystems to climate change.

Identify information needs to strengthen the sustainable management of the Andean forests and generate collaborative partnerships to implement applied research actions.

© Bosques Andinos.

© Jan R. Baiker.

2. Validation of Good Practice

In this line of intervention, practices, tools and frameworks for Sustainable Land Management (SLM) are validated in order to strengthen effective ongoing actions and to promote their replication. For example, Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) practices are included such as reforestation with native species to maintain or improve certain ecosystem goods and services, preserve forest areas to ensure the persistence of key biotic communities, among others.

The tools for sustainable land management can group multiple practices. Implementation schemes refer to institutional arrangements under specific contexts of environmental governance that enable the implementation of land management tools and seek to promote their effectiveness, efficiency and equity in the distribution of costs and benefits. For example, the incentive or retribution schemes for environmental services promote SFM tools and practices and create mechanisms to mobilize resources from public and private sectors to local actors in charge of managing ecosystems.

Practical validation strategies are:

Identification, consolidation and promotion of relevant strategies for the management of Andean forests conservation considering mitigation and climate change adaptation actions.

Valuation of benefits of Andean forests under sustainable management schemes considering climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Development and validation of methodological packages and tools for the management and conservation of Andean forests for their replication and upscaling.

3. Advocacy, Replication and Upscaling

This line of action aims to promote favourable conditions for the development of standards and policies in order to meet the challenges of the Andean region and those of mountain forests and climate change environments globally. It promotes opportunities for consultation and dialogue with decision makers at national and sub-national levels relevant for the configuration of the necessary structure and the development of policies at a global and Andean regional level. The Andean Forests Programme seeks to develop partnerships with multiple actors in development and dialogue platforms as well as new forms of cooperation with private, academic and public sectors to ensure that the key messages arising from its implementation and the knowledge it generates, are included in the processes of formulating public policies.

The programme policy dialogue messages at Andean regional level will be oriented to demonstrate how to deal with climate change from forest management and land use through regional support mechanisms.

Promote opportunities for dialogue based on generated knowledge and underway actions.

Build on the systematization of their own experiences and lessons learned and of those from other initiatives on conservation and sustainable use of Andean forests with key actors that participate in global and regional spaces.

Foster partnerships to facilitate collaborative work among national programmes in the region, promoting strategic south-south alliances and between public and private sectors.

Strengthen capacities and disseminate information for the appropriation of instruments, mechanisms for conservation of Andean forests in regards to climate change.

© Jan R. Baiker.

Programme Scope

The geographical scope of the Andean Forests Programme includes the forest ecosystems and the associated landscapes in mountain environments. The Meybeck et al (2001) definition which establishes the distribution of mountain landscape over a 500 m.a.s.l. elevation is used in this work. This definition includes both tropical and subtropical forests of the central and northern Andes, as well as temperate and Mediterranean forests of the southern Andes, mostly distributed in Chile.

©Verónica Gálmez
©Verónica Gálmez
©Jan R. Baiker
©Jan R. Baiker

However, the emphasis of the Andean Forest Programme work is concentrated in the Mountain Forest Ecosystems of the Tropical Andes (BMAT from its acronym in Spanish); specifically on research, monitoring, strengthening of practices, tools and frameworks for sustainable forest management, including foothill and montane ecosystems with an approximate elevation range between 500 and 3,200 m.a.s.l. Following the definition of ecological systems by Josse et al. (2009), there are 62 BMAT ecosystems that correspond to three major bioclimatic regimes: rainforests, seasonally dry forests and xerophytic forest.


At the Andean regional level, the Andean Forest Programme promotes technical and political dialogue and provides lessons learned to these processes. It also promotes the exchange of experiences and knowledge on national priorities and progress of countries in the region and about topics of common agreement on forests and climate change. It seeks to promote policy discussions to support national decisions. This dynamic will prioritize the opportunities for south-south cooperation and other processes that contribute to international dialogue on forests and climate change.

The Programme aims at proactively promoting platforms to influence discussion and management on Andean forests and climate change.


At the national level, the programme supports the dissemination and implementation of mechanisms and validates tools for the conservation of Andean forests. The national incentive programmes for the conservation of forests and the national strategies for climate change as well as other national strategies required to strengthen technical criteria are considered priorities at this level.


At the global level, the programme intends to generate inputs to facilitate the articulation between the Climate Change agenda and the Andean forests agenda. The programme allows to visualize the relevance of combining adaptation and mitigation strategies, and also to contribute to global political discussions.

Intervention Map