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Habitat Banks

Habitat Bank - Meta

What are habitat banks?

The Habitat Banks are lands whereadd compensation requirements and actions to preserve, improve or restore ecosystems are implemented to offset negative impacts on biodiversity. Through the Habitat Banks, quantifiable gains in biodiversity are generated, which are used so that companies compensate for the environmental damage caused.This mechanism is aimed at generating a payment mechanism for environmental results,fact with which it is possible to achieve increases in productivity, efficiency and quality of environmental compensation.To ensure the success of the Habitat Banks, they enjoy financial, technical and legal guarantees,aspects little considered in environmental investment mechanisms.


Thus, Habitat BanksThey are intended to serve as aggregate compensation schemes, where several companies can compensate for their effects on the environment in a single area.In addition, these Banks become a cost-efficient solution, wherewho generates the impacts only makes payments to the extent that different milestones are metin the process of designing, structuring, and maintaining the biodiversity units, which have their equivalent in terms of hectares

Habitat Bank - Meta

Habitat banks in Colombia

Since 2013, Terrasos, together with the NGO Fundepúblico, have worked on the issue of biodiversity offsets for a simple reason, although environmental management instrument was established in 1993, the country has no record of where or how they have been implemented. Under this scenario, these two organizations developed a proposal for the implementation of compensation through Habitat Banks.


These banks are a mechanism incorporated in several countries that has proven to make biodiversity compensation processes more efficient, to the extent that they facilitate compliance and, at the same time, improve control and surveillance by environmental authorities. Habitat banks are also an opportunity for the country to generate environmental public policy instruments that can translate into opportunities for rural development and protection of natural resources.


Within this research, documents and materials were developed in order to motivate reflection on the way in which Colombia can move forward to a more effective implementation of biodiversity offsets. From this work, the following infographics emerged:

What is the solution they offer?

• Individualized efforts and high transaction costs for all parties.


• There are no arrangements to ensure the permanence of the areas, in addition, the standards are considered only the establishment and not maintenance.

• Greater probability of success of compensation measures andreduced transaction costs

• Income opportunities for property owners for the improvement of land use practices andincreased environmental gains, plan and invest in advance.

Habitat Bank guarantees
Benefits of Habitat Banks
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Regulations related to Habitat Banks in Colombia

Regulations related to Habitat Banks in Colombia

Resolution 1051 of June 5, 2017 ​

Recently, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS) issued the administrative act that regulates habitat banks. Said act establishes the scope of application, the conditions for creating habitat banks and the terms that must be met in order to register them. The resolution assumes these banks as a mechanism for the implementation of the obligations derived from environmental compensation and the forced investment of 1%, as well as other conservation initiatives that can be configured through actions of preservation, restoration, and sustainable use of ecosystems and their biodiversity, under the pay-for-performance scheme. As part of the conditions to create habitat banks, it is required to comply with the principles of additionality, complementarity, sustainability and permanence, payment for performance and knowledge management (See Resolution here).


Decree 2099 of December 22, 2016 ​


This Decree seeks a more appropriate management of water, requiring all projects that involve in their execution the use of water taken directly from natural sources, and that are subject to obtaining an environmental license, to allocate 1% of the total investment of said projects for the recovery, conservation, preservation and monitoring of the hydrographic basin that feeds the respective water source. Habitat Banks are included as one of the mechanisms for the implementation of these investments, and others such as payment for environmental services, conservation agreements, as well as the application in conservation initiatives (See Decree here). ​


Resolution 1517 of August 31, 2012 ​ In 2012


The national government adopted, through Resolution 1517, the Manual for the allocation of compensation for loss of biodiversity. This Manual applies to the works and activities that require an environmental license by the ANLA, leaving out the projects licensed by the CARs, the subtraction of forest reserves, forestry exploitation and the lifting of bans. The guidelines of the Manual provide clarity and generate opportunities to seek more cost-efficient implementation schemes, which can result in quantifiable gains in biodiversity -as is the case of the Habitat Banks (See Resolution here).

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