Deforestation increased 8% in Colombia, destroying the home of animals

A common squirrel monkey, photo: Diego Guzmán on Unsplash
A common squirrel monkey, photo: Diego Guzmán on Unsplash

Deforestation in Colombia increased by 8% in 2020, despite government promises to reduce forest destruction and plant tens of millions of trees, Environment Minister Carlos Eduardo Correa said on Wednesday.

The country lost 171,685 hectares (424,000 acres) of forest last year, an area twice the size of New York City, compared to a loss of 158,894 hectares in 2019.

Anteaters, sloths, tapirs, bears, deer, capybaras, pumas, jaguars, monkeys and other animals live in the forests of Colombia. Deforestation is destroying their home.

Cow and sheep farming, the expansion of agricultural areas, cultivation of illegal crops like coca, unauthorized roads and criminal activities like illegal mining and logging were the top causes. Nearly 64% of the deforestation last year took place in Amazonian areas, Correa said.

Correa said the country hopes to reach zero deforestation by 2030. “We are making the greatest efforts in the fight against deforestation,” he said, mentioning a strategy that includes military operations, social investment, payments for environmental efforts and satellite monitoring.

Colombia is the world’s second most biodiverse country by square kilometre and home to some 10% of the world’s flora and fauna.

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