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Deforestation In Colombia Finally Dips Three Years After FARC Peace Deal

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The Colombian Amazon.

Colombia has registered its first drop in deforestation since the country’s historic 2016 peace deal with former FARC guerrillas closed a chapter on a half-century of armed conflict but also caused rapidly accelerating forest loss in remote regions of the country.

The country’s meteorological institute IDEAM released a report based on satellite images showing 198,000 hectares (489,269 acres) of forest were cut down in 2018, a 10 percent drop compared to 2017 when it recorded 220,000 hectares (543,632 acres) lost.

The report points to extensive cattle ranching, coca cultivation related to cocaine production, illegal mining and timber harvesting, unpermitted road construction, burns, and extension of the agricultural frontier as the greatest contributors to tropical forest loss in the South American country.

Despite slight annual progress, rates of deforestation in Colombia remain stubbornly high, with a sustained increase compared to the low rates the country boasted five years ago. In 2018, deforestation was 58.8 percent higher than in 2015, the year before the country’s former largest illegal armed group, the FARC, demobilized.

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