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6.1 State of NWFP statistics

Colombia participated in the FAO Workshop on NWFP in Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Santiago, Chile in 1994 (FAO 1995b). The country report by Dário Vallejo Rendón summarized three studies that had been done on different NWFP in Colombia. However, the report dealt in large part with the plant species, geographic distribution and demand for products that the NWFP could fill, rather than providing data on production and commercialization. It is assumed that such data are not collected at present, although that would be the logical next step. Data on 11 product classes could be located for the table in this report.


6.2 Non-wood goods and services

Colombia has a great diversity of habitats which support a correspondingly high amount of floral and faunal diversity. Potentially, it should have an equally high number of NWFP.

Based on available current data, the most important commercial NWFP are as follows:

Colombia’s natural landscapes of lowlands and high mountains make it attractive for nature tourism. The country has an extensive system of protected areas (covering nearly 4 million ha) which includes a network of 25 national parks (IUCN 1982). There were 124 228 registered visitors to national parks in 1990 (Broekhoven 1996). In addition to protected areas, Colombia has designated reserve areas for indigenous people within which they are guaranteed the right to subsistence use of the floral and faunal resources and sustainable extraction of commercial products such as tagua nuts (Ruiz Pérez 1993).


6.3 Non-wood goods

There is very little data on production, value or export of NWFP at the national level for Colombia. No statistics are available, nationally or regionally, on major product groups such as ornamental plants, fodder, bamboo, resin, tannin, essential oil, edible oil (from native palm seed), medicinal plants, species, colorants/dyestuffs and mushrooms. These products include both wild collected materials and those derived from cultivation. Colombia represents the most significant gap as far as knowledge of NWFP at the country level is concerned in all of South America.

Colombia had, in 1990, an area of 180 000 ha of mostly industrial tree plantations which leaves little doubt that there are secondary products being produced, but not recorded statistically.


6.3.1 Fiber

Chiqui-chiqui palm fiber is extracted on a minor scale (509 t in 1990),

6.3.2 Latex and gums

Natural rubber is extracted on a minor scale from the wild (477 t in 1990). In 1985, Colombia recorded export of gums valued at US$78 700. The quantity represented by these gum exports is not available.

6.3.3 Palm hearts

According to Broekhoven (1996), palm heart represents the most important NWFP in Colombia. In the period 1977 to 1987, average annual export earnings from palm heart amounted to US$202 500, but have increased rapidly more recently. In 1991, there were seven palm heart canning factories. All production is wild collected from natural stands of the naidí palm.

6.3.4 Edible oil

The most recent major plantation crop in Colombia is the African oil palm. This palm yields edible oil from the mesocarp of the fruit (483 000 t of palm oil in 1997), as well as from the seed (production of 79 000 t of palm kernels in 1997).


6.4 Other NWF plant products

Coconut production amounted to 75 000 t in 1997. As one of the world’s principal coffee growers, the shade-grown crop is very important; production was 646 000 t in 1997. In the same year, Colombia recorded cocoa bean production of 47 000 t.


6.4.1 Honey

Estimates of honey production by FAO in 1997 were placed at 3 000 t.


6.5 Important Commercial Wild Animals

Although there are no data on production, value and exports of Colombia’s faunal resources, a survey has shown that the following wild animals are of commercial significance.




Saguinus spp. (1)

Ara spp. (4)

Aotus spp. (1)

Aratinga spp. (4)

Saimiri spp. (1)

Brotogeris spp. (4)

Cebus spp. (1,2)

Amazona spp. (4)

Alouatta spp. (1)

Emberizinae (4)

Lagothrix lagotricha (4)


Lutra longicaudis (3)


Pteronura brasiliensis (3)


Leopardus paradalis (3)

Podocnemis expansa (2)

Panthera onca (3)

Podocnemis unifilis (2)

Trichechus inunguis (2)

Geochelone denticulata (2)

Tapirus terrestris (2)

Caiman crocodilus (3)

Tayassu pecari (2,3)

Melanosuchus niger (3)

Tayassu tajacu (2,3)

Boa constrictor (3)

Mazama americana (2,3)

Eunectes murinus (3)

Odocoileus virginianus (2)


Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris (3)


Agouti paca (2)


1. Live animals for biomedical research
2. Meat
3. Skin
4. Live animals, pets, etc.

Source: TCA, 1995.


6.6 References

Broekhoven, G. 1996. Non-timber forest products. IUCN, Gland.

Moll, H. A. J. 1987. The economics of oil palm. PUDOC, Wageningen.

FAO. 1995a. Forest resources assessment 1990. Tropical forest plantation resources. Forestry Paper 128. FAO, Rome.

FAO. 1995b. Memoria: consulta de expertos sobre productos forestales no madereros para America Latin y el Caribe. Forestry Series No. 1, Santiago.

FAO. 1997. Latin American and Caribbean Forestry Commission. State of forestry in the region - 1996. Forestry Series No. 8, Santiago.

FAO. 1998. FAO production yearbook. Vol. 51 – 1997. FAO, Rome.

IUCN. 1982. IUCN Directory of Neotropical Protected Areas. Tycooly Publishing, Dublin.

Ruiz Pérez, M. et al. 1993. El extractivismo en América Latina. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

TCA. 1995. Uso y conservación de la fauna silvestre en la Amazonia. Tratado de Cooperación Amazónica, Secretaria Pro-Tempore, Lima.


6.7 Resource Persons

Dário Vallejo Rendón, Corporación de Investigaciones Amazónicas Araracuara, Calle 20 # 5-44, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia. Tel: 571 283 6755.


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