- The results of this pilot test provide grounds for the strategy that will be implemented by Enel-Emgesa to restore 11,079 hectares of tropical dry forest in Huila over the next 20 years.
- This is the largest dry forest ecological restoration program being carried out in the country and, to date, has enabled the planting of more than 54 thousand trees and 62 native species.
- The pilot plan was developed with the support of Fundación Natura, which contributed its experience of more than 30 years in environmental conservation projects and designed 55 restoration strategies for the dry forest ecosystem.
In the framework of the Symposium on Ecological Restoration and Environmental Sustainability organized by the company, today Enel-Emgesa presented the successful results of the Ecological Restoration Pilot Plan for the Tropical Dry Forest implemented between 2014 and 2018 on 140 hectares located in the biotic compensation area of El Quimbo Hydroelectric Power Plant.
The Symposium was kicked off by the opening remarks of the Minister of the Environment, Ricardo Lozano, and the keynote speech of Brigitte Baptiste, Director of the Humboldt Institute, as well as representatives of National Parks, the National Authority of Environmental Licenses (ANLA, for the Spanish original), the UNDP, the Colombian Restoration Network and the Cundinamarca Regional Autonomous Corporation (CAR, for the Spanish original), and it was attended by more than 100 people, including researchers, scholars and environmental experts.
During its presentation, Enel-Emgesa highlighted that the pilot plan implemented in El Quimbo, which is the first developed in the country, enabled the biophysical characterization of the surrounding areas of the reservoir and its results provided the company with the scientific support and preliminary studies required to ensure success in the restoration of the 11,079 hectares to be intervened in the department of Huila, in the tropical dry forest ecosystem; these are part of the compensation measures set out in the Environmental License of El Quimbo.
With the characterization and the studies conducted, active and passive restoration strategies were designed and implemented to recover the ecosystem on the hectares that were intervened. A total of 55 ecological restoration strategies were established on the 140 hectares selected and the respective follow-up and monitoring efforts were carried out for more than 20 months.
The pilot plan was carried out in cooperation with Fundación Natura, an NGO with more than 30 years of experience in environmental conservation, and had an investment of more than COP 8,000 million, engaging more than 200 people, including professionals, technicians, field assistants and nurserymen.
Based on the results of the pilot plan, Enel-Emgesa will now carry out the second phase of its restoration program, which consists of the intervention of another 500 hectares over the next 3 years, located in the same biotic compensation area of El Quimbo, for which nearly COP 9,000 million will be allocated.
"Today, we have presented environmental experts, scholars and authorities of the country with the results of a pioneer restoration plan in Colombia that has required rigorous research and action on behalf of Enel-Emgesa. In addition, this pilot plan has become a national and international benchmark in topics related to restoration, thus contributing to the scientific knowledge of one of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet”, said Lucio General Director of Enel Colombia.
In turn, the Ministry of the Environment highlighted that the environmental challenges faced by Colombia in the coming years include the recovery of degraded areas through projects such as the one being implemented by Enel-Emgesa. “This process is noteworthy due to its results in the restoration of the ecosystem, as well as the conservation of the water resource, the participation of local communities, and the discovery and knowledge of the country's biodiversity and the new plant species found in the context of the Ecological Restoration Program of El Quimbo”, affirmed Ricardo Lozano, Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development.
In turn, Brigitte Baptiste, the keynote speaker of the Symposium, presented an analysis of the importance of defining clear goals for the restoration programs to be carried out in any type of ecosystem. “It is necessary to develop strategic alliances that engage organizations, authorities, companies and especially communities, by carrying out projects that have realistic restoration objectives that can be fulfilled and have diverse benefits, both in the protection and conservation of biodiversity, and in the sustainable use of the territories”, said Brigitte Baptiste, Director of the Humboldt Institute.
In addition to the ecological restoration program being carried out by Enel-Emgesa, attendees of the event learned about other projects being implemented in the country, such as the Land Rehabilitation project in El Cerrejón, La Guajira, and the ecological restoration project of the Neusa Reservoir in Cundinamarca. It also highlighted the importance of jointly engaging the authorities, oversight agencies, private enterprise, the public sector, communities and academia in the development of environmental projects to be sustainable over time.
About the Ecological Restoration Program of Enel-Emgesa
The ecological restoration program being carried out by Enel-Emgesa on more than 11 thousand hectares in Huila, is of great importance, not only because it is the largest program being implemented in Colombia in the tropical dry forest ecosystem, but because it has provided valuable information about an ecosystem that, according to the Alexander Von Humboldt Institute, is at risk, as the country has lost 90% of the dry forests, going from 9 million hectares to just 600 thousand that are now on national territory.
This program is planned for 20 years and covers the municipalities of El Agrado, Garzón, Gigante, Paicol and Tesalia. Various phases have been considered for the development of the program, one of which has been the Restoration Pilot Plan. In addition, the company has already purchased all of the 11,079 hectares that must be restored, for which it allocated nearly COP 60 billion.
ABOUT THE ENEL GROUP: ENEL-CODENSA AND ENEL-EMGESA
Enel-Codensa and Enel-Emgesa are part of the Enel Group, a multinational energy company and one of the main global integrated operators in the electricity and gas sector. The Group is operating in 34 countries on the 5 continents, generating energy through a managed capacity of approximately 88 GW. Enel distributes electricity and gas through a network of more than 2 million kilometers, and with nearly 72 million residential and corporate customers around the world.
Enel-Emgesa is a company involved in the business of generating and selling electricity in Colombia, with nearly 465 customers on the non-regulated market and a total installed generation capacity of 3,504 MW. It has 15 hydroelectric power plants and two thermal power plants operating in the departments of Cundinamarca, Bolívar and Huila. Since 2013, it has played a role as a natural gas vendor in negotiation processes with producers, resellers and customers from the Non-regulated Market. The generator and reseller of electric energy is still Emgesa S.A. ESP, an entity overseen by the Superintendence of Residential Public Services.