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Tree Nurseries in Colombia

A local nursery, managed by coffee farmers for coffee farmers

Why Local Tree Nurseries are Crucial in Restoring Coffee Landscapes, and What We’re Doing to Help

With its many dozens of micro-climates, nutrient-thick hills, high elevation and wet climate, Colombia is the perfect place to grow coffee. Yet, like many regions in the world, its farmers face ecological stress which puts pressure on their land and livelihoods. Agricultural expansion and unsustainable crop strategies have exacerbated the challenge, particularly in Colombia’s Cauca and Nariño mountain regions.

That’s why PUR has developed and scaled up coffee agroforestry projects in the region. Through our multi-stakeholder collaborations and our approach to integrating trees within coffee farming systems — which enhances ecological, economic and social resilience — we create real impact. And, we directly involve farmers, local cooperatives, and corporations in landscape restoration along the way.

The development of tree nurseries has been a crucial part of this process. “The idea here is to conserve trees or species within our regions that have been lost over time,” says Alex, a technician working with the Colombian Coffee Federation (FNC), a key field partner on this project. “Through the development of tree nurseries, PUR has tried to recover these species and reintroduce them, so that coffee farmers in the long term can propagate the same species within their region. That is something very beautiful that comes from PUR.”

Organizations like FNC, have supported the development and implementation of our projects for the last ten years. Together, we’re working to establish strong local networks dedicated to building ecological resilience in the region through long-term agroforestry initiatives.

A Local Nursery, Managed by Coffee Farmers for Coffee Farmers

To secure the permanence of our coffee agroforestry projects, PUR has aligned its strategies with the needs of local actors. This means creating a local tree nursery managed by coffee farmers and supplier producers throughout the region with high-quality seedlings. This community-driven nursery, led by nine dedicated coffee farmers, is tailored to the specific needs of local communities. This ensures long-term environmental benefits are maintained, and increases the sustainability of coffee production in the region.

The primary objective of the nursery is to preserve native species which is essential for maintaining biodiversity and water conservation near the biodiversity-rich Galeras Protected Area. By growing seedlings of endangered species and reintroducing them into the ecosystem, the nursery contributes significantly to environmental restoration efforts. 

According to local coffee farmer, Rigoberto Diez, the nursery was able to establish species that were already on the verge of extinction in the area, such as pink cedar (Acrocarpus Fraxinifolius) and rayo (Parkia Pendula) – species often used in the past for building houses. “We took it upon ourselves to be able to obtain seeds again. And with the nursery project of FNC and PUR, they gave us the opportunity to cultivate these endangered species,” he says.

How We’re Creating Agroforestry Projects for the Long Term

PUR’s partnerships with Nespresso and FNC are essential for implementing successful projects in Colombia. By working directly with smallholder farmers, our field teams and technicians are building strong collaborations with coffee producers across the country, implementing key nature-based models that are customized for each local context.

Specifically, PUR’s agroforestry experts have strategically incorporated trees into coffee farms, aiming to increase the resilience of Colombia’s production systems. Our agroforestry models are structured to stabilize yields by enhancing ecosystem services, fostering more sustainable practices and increasing farmer engagement over the long term. 

By working with FNC and Nespresso, PUR has significantly increased our field presence in Colombia, enabling our teams to create major long-term projects – all designed to help farmers overcome climate challenges as environmental conditions change over time. “Every day, we are making producers aware of the possibilities,” adds Alex. “We’re changing the idea of just taking advantage of the land but not caring, not regenerating.


“This isn’t about telling the coffee farmer, ‘Let’s change this’. No, it’s about incentivizing them, little by little, and giving them knowledge, while also accompanying them in everything they need.”

– Alex, FNC Technician

Scaling Things Up

Coffee farmers are facing more serious challenges from climate change than ever before. Irregular seasonal patterns, frequent droughts, higher temperatures, and humidity levels are affecting the consistency of yields, while also making coffee more vulnerable to pests and diseases. Researchers have predicted that the global area suitable for coffee production will be reduced by as much as 50% by 2050 as the effects of climate change accelerate.

So, more needs to be done to restore coffee landscapes and increase agricultural resilience for the future. 

To secure our future supply of coffee and support farmers worldwide, there is an urgent need to scale up agroforestry projects. PUR’s adaptive management approach has been designed to achieve more impactful results, year after year, by continuously adjusting to new climate conditions and maximizing the positive effects of ecosystem services.

Long-term environmental benefits can be attained through PUR’s landscape approach—which we’ve been building and improving over 15 years, developing industry-leading agroforestry models through on-the-ground experience. To date, we have distributed 800 species of trees to 66,000 farmers over 37,000 hectares, in Colombia and 20 other countries worldwide. 

Work with PUR to develop and scale up agroforestry projects in Colombia and beyond.


Jun 25, 2024


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