Colombia lost 23 thousand square miles of virgin forest since 1990. This is almost 5% of Colombia’s entire national territory, which was forested almost entirely before Spanish colonization in the 16th century.
Colombia’s gradual deforestation
Colombia’s environmental authorities did not begin measuring deforestation until 1990. Since then, the country lost 6 million hectares of forest. Annual observations have been made since 2012.
Forest losses in Colombia since 1990
Recent deforestation has been worst in areas where agricultural industries like cattle ranching, palm oil or coca cultivation have expanded. Illegal mining has also increasingly become a threat to the country’s forests.
Using new technology to monitor an old phenomenon
Colombian authorities and environmental organizations have only since recently access to high resolution satellite images that allow a close examination of how deforestation takes place.