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Publicaciones BID

Knowledge Generation

As part of its mission, Terrasos has technical and specialized knowledge in diverses fields. In this context, we support research, we promote knowledge disclosure and dissemination, and we offer consulting services to all our clients. Among the main research publications, reports and material published by Terrasos team members and collaborators are:

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Créditos biodiversidad: una oportunidad para generar un enfoque incluyente para reconocer el valor de la naturaleza

Terrasos - 2023

Este documento argumenta que los sistemas de créditos de biodiversidad requieren una estructura diferente a la de los mercados de créditos de carbono. La captura de carbono y la protección de la biodiversidad son problemas fundamentalmente diferentes, con soluciones distintas, y sus correspondientes sistemas de créditos deben tener en cuenta esas diferencias por razones técnicas, sociales y prácticas. Es este marco, los autores destacan siete aspectos fundamentales que deben tenerse en cuenta a la hora de desarrollar un sistema de créditos de biodiversidad.

Consulta aquí: La versión en español o the english version


Infografía: Bancos de hábitat para la protección de la vida y la biodiversidad

Terrasos - 2023

Esta infografía desglosa los aspectos fundamentales de los Bancos de Hábitat en Colombia. Presenta una síntesis de qué son, cómo funcionan y cuáles son sus ventajas; muestra cuáles son los hitos más relevantes  para su desarrollo; señala las normas bajo las cuales operan e identifica oportunidades de mejora en la regulación.

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Bancos de hábitat para la protección de la vida y la biodiversidad: compensaciones que perduran y generan desarrollo

Terrasos - 2023

Los bancos de hábitat son una solución para contribuir al cierre de la brecha de financiación para la biodiversidad en Colombia y el mundo. Este documento pone de relieve el inmenso potencial de los Bancos de Hábitat no solo para garantizar una conservación duradera y cuantificable, sino también para impulsar los objetivos ambientales del país. Así mismo, resalta la necesidad de contar con políticas claras que maximicen este potencial, asegurando la sostenibilidad y fomentando el desarrollo económico.

Executive Summary - Protocol for the Issuance of Voluntary Biodiversity Credits


Terrasos - 2022

This executive summary offers a quick and comprehensive look at the definitions necessary for the design and operation of conservation projects that are interested in issuing Voluntary Biodiversity Credits under the principles of integrity offered by the “Protocol for the Issuance of Voluntary Biodiversity Credits”. In this way, it contributes to the construction of Projects sustainable in the long term and generate environmental, social and economic value in the territories where they are developed. 

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The Protocol for the Issuance of Voluntary Biodiversity Credits Partnership for Forests (V3)

Updated to November 2022

Given the need to create and stimulate projects that ensure the recovery of biodiversity and contribute significantly to international goals, the "Protocol for the Issuance of Voluntary Biodiversity Credits" is created.”. This Protocol seeks to promote the structuring of exceptional conservation projects, providing criteria for their design and operation, which adopt conservation measures based on areas with great ecological value, and are managed based on financial, legal and technical guarantees. Likewise, we consider that this Protocol will allow the mobilization of public and private environmental investments to generate a market for Biodiversity Credits, which allow projects and their actions to be sustainable in the long term and generate environmental, social and economic value in the territories where they are carried out. develop.


Consultation here: The Spanish version either the english version


Biodiverse Adventure: A journey through the ecosystems of Colombia

It is for this reason that we present Aventura Biodiversa. A journey through the ecosystems of Colombia, a scientific nature booklet with a pedagogical and didactic approach that allows to generate conversations about how important it is to take care of the great natural wealth that we have.

The travel log of our primer will lead you to find a glossary, its objective is to offer a definition of the usual technical concepts in the publication, a tour of the ecosystems of Colombia and the biodiversity that inhabits it, as well as activities to draw or write and a section that allows us to go deeper into the Habitat Banks, a bet of Terrasos for the environmental conservation of the country.


Biodiversity Credits: Unlocking financial markets for positive results for nature.

On the path to regenerative business adoption, there is an opportunity to protect critical ecosystems that businesses and the world depend on from irreversible tipping points. An opportunity comes in the form of biodiversity credits and this opportunity can only be unlocked with the fair and equitable engagement of multiple biodiversity stewards, in particular indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs), including farmers, fishers and herders.


The World Economic Forum Nature Action is leading a global initiative called Financing for Nature that explores the potential of biodiversity credit markets to unlock financing for positive outcomes for nature.

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Event proceedings - Habitat Banks: Experiences in the implementation of 1% offsets and investment as well as a new economy of biodiversity conservation.

This document presents the reports collected from the event that was held on March 11, 2022, in partnership with Terrasos, ANDI's National Water and Biodiversity Center and Partnerships for Forests (P4F).

OCENSA guests and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.

The Habitat Banks are a strategy for the recovery and conservation of Colombia's ecosystems, as well as an efficient mechanism for compensation and mandatory investments by companies. For us, sharing experiences, good practices and lessons learned from our implementation processes is a way of continuing to contribute, not only to the generation of new knowledge, but also to boosting the economy of biodiversity conservation.    

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Desirable areas analysis for the creation of Habitat Banks


Julio Alvarez - Mariana Sarmiento. - 2021

The purpose of this document is to identify areas with high potential for the creation of Habitat Banks and to use this compensation and environmental investment mechanism under the principle of payment for results.  The area identification methodology, part of the experience that Terrasos has been collecting in the pilot processes of structuring and operating the Habitat Banks in Colombia, in addition to the decision elements that are considered important for a national prioritization process.

The objective of this document is to contribute to the consolidation of an offer in the Habitat Banks that lead to the maturation of a biodiversity credit market, encouraging private actors such as owners, companies and capital investors to participate in the conservation of biodiversity and orienting its management towards results, promoting sustainable rural development.


Camera trap protocol for wildlife monitoring.


Valentina Grisales Betancur y  Sergio Medellín. - 2021

Habitat Banks are a mechanism designed to comply with mandatory and voluntary environmental compensation and investments, which promotes No Net Loss of Biodiversity, ensuring conservation and restoration actions in a given space for a period of 30 years. Within the operation of the Habitat Banks there is a monitoring and follow-up component of the State of Conservation of biodiversity and restoration actions, this with the objective of determining the fulfillment of the objectives in the short, medium and long term.

As part of  the activities proposed for the monitoring and follow-up of biodiversity within the Meta Habitat Bank (BHM), it has been proposed to carry out a permanent photo-trapping exercise, which aims to know what species are present in the area of the Bank's study, what relationship these species have with the different types of cover present there, and how, in the medium and long term, these species respond to the conservation and restoration actions that are being carried out in the Habitat Bank.

Exchange of experiences

Habitat Banks.

Maria del Mar Mozzo, Mariana Sarmiento, Steve Martin and Nick White - 2021

Habitat Banks are a real opportunity for the conservation of biodiversity, as they motivate advance investments and the leveraging of private resources, since they work under a payment-for-results scheme, which ensures the achievement of measurable and quantifiable results.

There is a great potential as these projects contribute to the implementation of the overall conservation goals of the country. In addition, it is a mechanism in which companies not only comply with their mandatory compensation for the biotic component, but also allow the implementation of investments of no less than 1% and voluntary investments, demonstrating the additionality of preservation actions in the unregulated market and sustainably managing strategic ecosystems in the country.

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Impact Investment for the conservation of the biodiversity: Cases of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Isabel Studer – IDB – 2021.

Over 30% of the earth’s available freshwater and nearly 50% of the world’s tropical forests are found in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), which has a wide range of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems. This unique source of capital (natural capital) generates important benefits for people’s lives called ecosystem services. The term “natural capital” refers to the components of terrestrial and marine ecosystems, including biological diversity, that contribute to the generation of valuable goods and services for humanity now and in the future. A funding gap to protect nature and biodiversity assets can be partially addressed by mobilizing private investment by supporting private actors who are sustainably harnessing natural capital, facilitating private investment in conservation and restoration projects, and encouraging private innovation in sustainability solutions.    

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The value of biodiversity in economical decision making processes: Appliance of the IEEM’s ESM approach to the conservation strategies in Colombia.

Onil Banerjee, Martin Cicowiez, Žiga Malek, Peter H. Verburg, Renato Vargas, Sean Goodwin – IDB – 2020

In this article we evaluate the economic, natural capital and ecosystem service impacts of strategies to conserve Colombia’s rich endowment of natural capital. In particular, we consider government program proposals to establish Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES), implement more sustainable silvopastoral systems, and expand Habitat Banks. We develop and apply the Integrated Environmental Economic Modeling Platform (IEEM) connected to Land Use Land Cover (LULC) and Ecosystem Services Modeling (IEEMESM) to clarify the multidimensional impacts of these programs from the perspective of sustainable economic development and intergenerational wealth..

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Monitoring and follow-up to aggregated schemes of environmental offsets

Mariana Sarmiento, Alexis López y Felipe Osorio - TERRASOS - 2020.

To maximize the positive impacts in biodiversity that result from the compensation obligations and the water usage investments of no less than 1%, it is vital to strengthen certain aspects related to its effective implementation. In the case of aggregated schemes for offsets (such as Habitat Banks and Bosques de Paz), the follow-up, monitoring and accountability of action, as well as the use of technological platforms, are key to achieve effective results. Therefore, this publication does a review of international referrals and the case study of Colombia’s first Habitat Bank, with the purpose of identifying the advantages and restrictions that the legal framework and practice exert on this type of initiatives to finally offer a series of recommendations that would speed up the execution of the aggregated offsets and thus, achieve greater environmental, economic and social gains.

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Guidelines for environmental offsets in ethnic territories


This publication proposes a plan to articulate the management strategies of natural resources in land of indigenous and black communities, with the compensatory obligations for companies their activities in surrounding areas. This document is meant to be a contribution to the debate on this subject and for it to become reference material for the concerned communities, the companies with compensatory obligations and the different environmental authorities, to use the model or present it to their beneficiaries. Ultimately, it is key to guarantee that the offsets secure that the communities keep the same access level to biodiversity and to the ecosystemic services, before and after the execution of any development project.


Infographic on the progress of Habitat Banks across the world

Terrasos - 2019

Terrasos is Pioneer in structuring the scheme of Habitat Banks as a mechanism to implement biodiversity offsets in the country. This acknowledgment responds to the thorough research of innovative and cost-benefit strategies that improve the environmental conditions of the territories, and allow the fulfillment of the companies’ obligations to their projects. From 2014, and as part of this work, Terrasos has been monitoring the evolution of this scheme where it has had the highest acceptance, indicated on the infographic. There, development in the implementation of the Habitat Banks are mentioned in countries such as the U.S. Australia, Germany, UK, Spain, France and Colombia, where there is a high focus on the areas under this scheme, the projected times, the guarantees, the legal aspects, the price of credits and the concerned actors.  


Habitat Banks: Mechanism for the implementation of biotic offsets

Mariana Sarmiento, Eduardo del Valle, Alexis López, Felipe Osorio, Juan Esteban Hincapié y María Isabel Vieira Muñoz - THE NATURE CONSERVANCY (TNC), TERRASOS, MINAMBIENTE Y BID FOMIN - 2018

Considering the need to orient the implementation of the Habitat Banks for the different actors involved, this guide seeks to resolve the main questions about its implementation regarding the offsets of the biotic component and the requirements of the compulsory investment of no less than 1% for water usage. Emphasis is placed on the basic concepts related to this mechanism, their benefits, the requirements and procedures to establish them. Likewise, there is reference to its operation, to the way in which follow-up and monitoring must be carried out, as well as the process to be followed if it is to comply with a biotic compensation or an investment of 1% through the Habitat Banks. Finally, it indicates the minimum content that a compensation plan associated with this mechanism must have as well as the roles and responsibilities to be assumed by the stakeholders involved. 

Legal Considerations on Land Tenure in Colombia's Emerging Environmental Markets

Eduardo del Valle Mora, Mariana Sarmiento, Juan Pablo del Valle Mora, Ricardo Alexis López y Natalia Abello - FUNDEPÚBLICO - 2017.

This practical guide becomes a consultation tool for projects involving properties that are the subject of environmental transactions. In this way, it is intended to meet the growing demand raised by environmental markets, as well as to overcome some of the difficulties that currently arise in the implementation of PES-type schemes, biodiversity offsets and investments aimed at conserving water resources. This work is part of the project “Strengthening the legal, financial and natural resource management structures for reciprocal ecosystem service agreements”, funded by the MacArthur Foundation and implemented by Fundepúblico, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Fondo Acción.

Considerations of emerging environmental markets in Colombia

Lucas Buitrago, Eduardo del Valle Mora, Padu Franco, Luisa Fernanda Lema, Ricardo Alexis López, Daniela Morales, Tatiana Núñez y Mariana Sarmiento - FUNDEPÚBLICO, WCS y FONDO ACCIÓN - 2017.

This publication resumes each of the problems associated with environmental markets, proposing the following solutions: i) Transparency and timeliness of information; ii) Accuracy in requirements or obligations; iii) Land tenure and use

Monitoring, verification and control; and iv) Creation of demand in voluntary schemes. Finally, to conclude the analysis, the publication points out some cross-cutting elements, the lack of which is significant for the consolidation of the markets.

Diagnosis of emerging environmental markets in Colombia

Lucas BuitragoAlexis López, Mariana Sarmiento - FUNDEPÚBLICO, WCS y FONDO ACCIÓN - 2016.


Environmental markets are intended to generate economic alternatives that benefit communities, companies and governments, in order to conserve biodiversity, improve water quality, fix carbon, among other activities. This diagnosis contributes to understanding the magnitude and potential of these markets, besides allowing the identification of bottlenecks, along with the opportunities related to the flow of private and public resources towards effective conservation. The study was carried out from the information supplied and compiled with environmental authorities, control entities, private companies, unions, research institutes, non-governmental organizations and specialists.

Operational Manual of the Habitat Bank - Meta

Mariana Sarmiento, Eduardo del Valle, Alfredo Navas, Wayne White, Terry Anderson, Santiago Pinzón, Alexis López - TERRASOS SAS - 2016.

Terrasos developed the Operational Manual of the first Habitat Bank in the country. This research aims to disseminate a new way of making environmental compensations. In the Habitat Bank, actions are carried out to preserve, improve or restore ecosystems. The Habitat Bank - Meta - is located in the municipality of San Martín de los Llanos in the department of Meta, in the sub-basin of the Metica River. Its area is approximately 1,500 hectares and includes Natural Forests and Orinoquia Savannahs. This project has been built with international and national experts. The international team has more than twenty years of experience in environmental compensation schemes under payment-by-results modalities.


Infographics: Towards a system of habitat banks in Colombia

Mariana Sarmiento y Alexis López - FUNDEPÚBLICO, TERRASOS SAS, WCS - 2015.

This infographic summarizes the aspects that must be considered to achieve good implementation of the Habitat Banks in Colombia. This is based on lessons learned and recommendations from the experience of countries such as the United States, Germany, France, Australia, England and Spain. Among these aspects, the need to have a unit of measurement of losses and gains of biodiversity or biodiversity credit is highlighted, which would correspond to the unit that would be negotiated between the promoter of the habitat bank and the impact generators. In addition to this, several considerations are indicated on the legal processes and procedures that must be implemented to ensure the permanence and sustainability of the Habitat Banks, as well as the financial mechanisms required to provide transparency and efficiency. As part of this work, an additional infographic was also made presenting the evolution of Habitat Banks at the international level. See here.


Towards Habitat Banks as an environmental offset tool in Colombia

Mariana Sarmiento y Alexis López - FUNDEPÚBLICO, TERRASOS SAS, WCS - 2015.

Fundepúblico opens the discussion on habitat banks as a tool for biodiversity compensations in Colombia. In other countries, habitat banks have shown to make biodiversity offsets processes more efficient to the extent that they allow the establishment of restoration and conservation areas before impacts are generated, they also speed up compliance with compensation measures by the impact generators and, simultaneously, facilitate control and surveillance by environmental authorities.

Guidelines for the design of a compensation plan for biodiversity loss

Mariana Sarmiento, William Cardona, Ray Victurine, Alexis López, Andrea Carneiro, Padu Franco, Marcela Jiménez - WCS y FUNDEPÚBLICO - 2015.

The guidelines presented in this document are intended to improve the way in which biodiversity offsets are being developed in the country. These were developed      considering the requirements established by “the Manual de Asignaciones por Pérdida de Biodiversidad”,      international good practices. The publication intends to generate a guidelines proposal for the      offset plans design. Thus, we seek to provide feedback on what is proposed in the Manual since, according to the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS for its name in Spanish), this instrument has a management cycle that allows for the inclusion of additional developments that strengthen its implementation.

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