Colombia’s environment minister has warned that the forests of the Colombian Amazon are in a critical situation due to deforestation, reported Caracol Radio on Tuesday.
Sandra Bessudo, the High Councillor for Environmental Management, said that 2.1 million acres of the Colombian Amazon have been deforested for the purposes of agriculture, livestock and illicit crops.
“The Amazon forest is the best preserved of the planet, but also with a lot of problems. If we don’t achieve the conservation and sustainable use of the resources that there are, we will see the threat of deforestation advance strongly,” said Bessudo.
The announcement comes ahead of a meeting between regional government representatives and the UN to define new strategies and policies that will lead to better protection of the rainforest. The meeting marks the international year of the protection of forests and is sponsored by the Organization of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty.
The Colombian Amazon takes up 116 million acres, making up just 7% of the total Amazon jungle. It has a rich biodiversity and cultural diversity, being home to 70% of animal and vegetable species of the world, and 62 indigenous cultures. The region has a population of almost one million inhabitants, comprising nearly 2% of the national population.