Forty thousand square kilometers of the Colombian rainforest were lost between 2002 and 2007, according to a study by the Amazonian Institute of Scientific Investigation, reports Dinero.
The Amazonian region of Colombia extends for 480,000 square kilometers over 35% of the country, and covers six of its 32 departments.
Uriel Murcia, the coordinator of the study, used detailed satellite images to measure the rate of deforestation and said that it has been “a very slow process, but one which has sped up greatly in the latter part of the last century, in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.”
He said that one of the chief causes of deforestation is livestock farming, but added that the pace of logging in Colombia is much lower than in other Amazonian countries such as Brazil, where, despite a cut in logging by 7,000 square kilometers per year, the rate is still one of the highest in the region.
He explained that this is because in Colombia many parts of the forest are designated as indigenous reserves and are protected by law.
Murcia says that by the end of this year he expects to have data on the destruction of the Colombian Amazon for the years 2007 to 2009.