Colombia has lost more than 295,862 hectares of forest to deforestation between 2011 and 2012, the Environment Ministry revealed on Monday.
Such a loss represents an area 1.6 times the size of Quindio, Colombia’s smallest mainland department.
While the annual rate remains high, the figures actually show a reduction in the deforestation rate by approximately 90,000 hectares per year.
The most affected departments are the southern Caqueta, Meta and Guaviare, which account for 46% of the loss of forest in the country, although through 2011-2012, deforestation in this region was down 10,000 hectares per year.
Overall, the annual average rate of deforestation has decreased in much of the country, excluding the departments of Guaviare and Arauca, where in the last two years it has increased by 11 000 hectares and 7000 hectares respectively.
The main causes of deforestation in Colombia are the expansion of livestock production, illicit crops such as coca and the illegal mining industry.
Reducing the rate of deforestation coincides with a significant decrease of coca crops, particularly in the departments of Narino and Cauca, and with increasing inter-agency efforts to control illegal logging and mining.
- 050813 Tasa deforestación (Ministry of environment)