Host Country for Forest First
Colombia was selected as the host country for Forest First’s plantations after a two-year worldwide search for the optimal country and biological conditions.
Forest First Plantations are located in the region of the Meta River in N.E. Vichada.
Free Market Economy
Boasting major commercial and investment ties to the United States, Colombia’s transition from a highly regulated economy into a free market economy has been underway for more than 15 years, a change that saw the country achieve an average annual economic growth rate of over 5% between 2002 and 2015.
This can be attributed to an increase in domestic security, which has resulted in greater foreign direct investment, prudent monetary policy, and export growth. The country’s growing population has also played a key role (current population is 47 million people and that number is growing 1.4% per annum), as has the literacy rate, which stands at 95%.
Colombia’s forestry law protects investor rights in plantations (Law 1377 of 2010) and new forestry platations are exempt from income tax. In addition, the Colombian government has lunched an agricultural program called “Colombia Siembra” to incentive the development of agricultural crops with forestry selected as one the key crops. These initiatives augment Colombia´s attractiveness to foreing investors¨”.
Savannahs and Plains
Topographically, Colombia’s eastern Vichada region is very flat and expansive areas of savannahs and plains allow for lower establishment costs, while the lack of natural forests in grasslands results in minimal clearing costs, no destruction of natural forest and good potential for carbon sequestration credits. The close proximity to the Meta River for transportation makes good logistical sense as well.
Vichada state land is helped by its even temperature and average precipitation rate of 2,300mm per year, which make for ideal conditions for growth. Meanwhile, its high proportion of “sabanas altas” and highly productive well-draining soils make for very good yields.
“It is common practice in Vichada for the local people to set uncontrolled wildfires several times a year and burn thousands of hectares of Savannah to encourage new grass shoots to emerge from the soil. These grass shoot are more palatable for the cows to eat and easier to digest. Constant burning of the savanna grasslands results in widespread environmental degradation including soil erosion, reduced water quality in the rivers, reduced water infiltration into the soils, reduced biodiversity and an increase in the emittance of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere”.