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Habitat Banks

Meta Habitat Bank

Antioquia Habitat Bank

What is the solution offered?

Statu Quo

Situation with banco de hábitat

Project  1

Project 2

Project 3

Project 4

Banco de Hábitat

Statu quo

  • Individualized efforts and high transaction costs for all parties

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

Situación con banco de hábitat

  • Increased probability of success of offsets and reduction of transaction costs

  • Income opportunities for property owners to improve land use practices and increase environmental gains – that is planned and invested early

What are Habitat Banks?

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


Thus, the Habitat Banks are intended to serve as aggregate offset schemes, where several companies can compensate their effects on the environment in a single area. In addition, these Banks become a cost-efficient solution, where who generate the impacts only make payments to the extent that different milestones are met in the process of design, structuring, and maintenance of the biodiversity units, which have their equivalent in terms of hectares.

Los bancos de hábitat en Colombia

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


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


In this regard, documents and materials have been developed to motivate the reflection on how Colombia can advance in a more effective implementation of environmental compensation. From this work, the following infographics emerged.

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 the Habitat Banks. This act establishes the scope of application, the conditions to create Habitat Banks and the terms that must be met to register them. The resolution assumes the Habitat Banks as a mechanism for implementing the obligations derived from environmental offsets and 1% forced investment, as well as other conservation initiatives that can be configured through preservation, restoration, and sustainable use actions. ecosystems and their biodiversity, under the payment 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 by 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 which they allocate 1% of the total the investment of projects for the recovery, conservation, preservation and monitoring of the hydrographic basin that feeds the respective water source. One of the mechanisms for the implementation of these investments includes the Habitat Banks, and others such as payment for environmental services (PES), conservation agreements, as well as 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 offsets for biodiversity loss. 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 removals of forest reserves, the logging and the closed surveys. The guidelines of the Manual provide clarity and generate opportunities to look for more cost-efficient implementation schemes that may result in quantifiable biodiversity gains -as in the case of the Habitat Banks (See Resolution here). 

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