The Grupo ARCO is a NGO in the form of an association of scientists. As a research group we exist already more than 15 years; first in the Netherlands and afterwards in Colombia. It is recognized by COLCIENCIAS (Colombian Institute of Science and Technology). Our purpose is to provide a solid scientific base in the field of the selection and management of conservation areas. We have the enormous advantage of not belonging to a public or private institution which gives us the academic liberty in treating environmental issues.  Our work has generated a coherent approach where the answrs in each stage of the conservation planning process form a part of a whole with a solid foundation. Our focus are those countries where there still exists sufficient nature to select conservation areas and given our localization, the service to Latin America is central in our mission.


 ARTICLE OF FANDIÑO-LOZANO AND WYNGAARDEN:  “FOCALIZE: A new decision support system to integrate reserve selection and land use planning through the use of complementary and supplementary criteria”  (pdf).

  • FOCALIZE is a decision support tool for the selection of complete sets of conservation areas integrating, from the beginning, development initiatives in such a way that conflicts between conservation and development are minimized. Together with its extension OT-Plan, it produces alternative scenarios with thematic maps of the conservation areas, maps of the conflicts between conservation and development and between productive sectors, and maps of the territorial ordering.

Also available is the extension OT-Lic, that takes-up the results of FOCALIZE and OT-Plan, and evaluates whether environmental licenses could be given to individual projects.

This packet of software can be used in any part of the word and can be obtained from the Grupo ARCO. Please contact Martha Fandiño-Lozano (Director of the Research Group ARCO) via the webpage(

 Updated: 15-03-2011

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