Colombian environmental bodies and state-controlled oil company Ecopetrol unveiled seven joint initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse-gas emissions caused by deforestation and forest degradation.

The project, led by Ecopetrol, Natural National Parks of Colombia and the Natura Foundation, will be carried out at reserves, national parks, buffer zones and rural areas of the northern provinces of Antioquia, Santander, Norte de Santander and Boyaca.

The goal is to lower carbon-dioxide emissions by 220,000 tons, plant 990 hectares (2,440 acres) of forest systems and avoid the degradation of at least 2,000 hectares (5,000 acres) of forest.

One of the projects, to be carried out in Antioquia and Santander, will combat indoor air pollution and carbon emissions by providing rural families with energy-efficient cooking stoves.

The agreements also will support the development of technical knowledge for the restoration of strategic forest ecosystems located in natural parks and private reserves, the program's promoters said in a statement Wednesday.

"The idea is to support projects and actions that reduce the impacts of climate change and contribute to the fulfillment of goals and actions established by the national government in the National Development Plan and in international accords the country has signed and ratified," Ecopetrol CEO Javier Gutierrez said.

A total of 11.4 billion pesos ($5.7 million) are to be invested in the initiatives, with concrete actions to be undertaken over the next three years, Ecopetrol said.

The restoration strategies will be based on recovering local communities' traditional forest-management knowledge, encouraging people to become involved in restoration activities and publishing informational material about the processes implemented to recover these strategic ecosystems.

The program will "strengthen six projects to conserve threatened native species" and thereby contribute to the "National Plant Conservation Plan and to the analysis and implementation of adjusted methodologies for carbon capture in strategic ecosystems," the statement added. EFE