Colombia lost 219,973 hectares (850 square miles) of forest last year, according to authorities. This is 23% more than the year before.
The destruction of Colombia’s forests, particularly in the Amazon region, has been accelerated by the demobilization of FARC rebels and authorities’ failures to assume control over the rural territories previously controlled by the guerrillas.
Main causes of deforestation in Colombia
- Illegal mining
- Cattle ranching
- Coca cultivation
Deforestation in Colombia
These remote regions are virtually lawless, making it easy for entrepreneurs to explore for natural resources, burn down forest for cattle ranching or create space for the cultivation of coca, the base ingredient for cocaine.
Colombia’s Supreme Court earlier this year ordered national authorities to take action against the increasingly rapid disappearance of the tropical rain forest that is widely considered the lungs of the earth.
“It is clear, despite numerous international commitments, regulations, and jurisprudence on the matter, that the Colombian State has not efficiently tackled the problem of deforestation in the Amazon,” the Court said.
Whether authorities follow up on the court ruling remains to be seen. Much of the areas that are suffering deforestation are located at the very end of human civilization and are out of reach of the national government in Bogota.