deforestation

Curb land grabbing to save the Amazon

Journal letter to the editor. Despite international conservation efforts 1, deforestation in the Amazon continues apace. While the current focus is on immediate responses to the crisis, the roots of deforestation are deep, institutional and societal. …

Fires in protected areas reveal unforseen costs of Colombian peace

Armed conflict, and its end, can have powerful effects on natural resources, but the influence of war and peace on highly biodiverse tropical forests remains disputed. We found a sixfold increase in fires in protected areas across biodiversity …

The Origins of Cocaine: Colonization and Failed Development in the Amazon Andes

Integrating remotely sensed fires for predicting deforestation for REDD+

Fire is an important tool in tropical forest management, as it alters forest composition, structure, and the carbon budget. The United Nations program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) aims to sustainably manage …

A Bayesian Spatial Model Highlights Distinct Dynamics in Deforestation from Coca and Pastures in an Andean Biodiversity Hotspot

The loss of tropical forests has continued in recent decades despite wide recognition of their importance to maintaining biodiversity. Here, we examine the conversion of forests to pastures and coca crops (illicit activity) on the San Lucas Mountain …

Environmental damage from illicit drug crops in Colombia

The natural habitats of Colombia, its forests, rivers, and grasslands, are global conservation priorities because of the richness and endemism of their fauna and flora (McNeely et al., 1990; Myers et al., 2000; Olson & Dinerstein, 1998; Stattersfield …

Illicit Crops and Armed Conflict as Constraints on Biodiversity Conservation in the Andes Region

Coca, once grown for local consumption in the Andes, is now produced for external markets, often in areas with armed conflict. Internationally financed eradication campaigns force traffickers and growers to constantly relocate, making drug-related activities a principal cause of forest loss. The impact on biodiversity is known only in general terms, and this article presents the first regional analysis to identify areas of special concern, using bird data as proxy. The aim of conserving all species may be significantly constrained in the Santa Marta and Perijá mountains, Darién, some parts of the Central Andes in Colombia, and between the middle Marañón and middle Huallaga valleys in Peru. Solutions to the problem must address the root causes: international drug markets, long-lasting armed conflict, and lack of alternative income for the rural poor.

Colombia: the many faces of the war

Forests in the Time of Violence: Conservation Implications of the Colombian War

Forest remnants in the Colombian Amazon, Andes, and Chocó are the last repositories of a highly diverse and endemic biota. Historical changes in the Colombian landscape have been dramatic, but the magnitude and rate of change has increased over the …

Forests in the Time of Violence; Conservation Implications of the Colombian War

Forest remnants in the Colombian Amazon, Andes, and Chocó are the last repositories of a highly diverse and endemic biota. Historical changes in the Colombian landscape have been dramatic, but the magnitude and rate of change has increased over the last half century, while conflict has consumed the capacity of Colombian society to respond to environmental threats. Academic experts in the study of the Colombian conflict have explored the social, political, and economic implications of the war. However, the environmental consequences of conflict are documented only when groups in conflict target salient economic resources. This paper presents the first analysis of the geographic distribution of forest remnants in relation to armed conflict in Colombia. Results show that guerrillas and/or paramilitaries range throughout areas of human encroachment into remnant forests. The policies promoted by Colombia's irregular armed forces range from “gunpoint conservation” rarely applied by guerrillas, to the rapid conversion of forests and crops to cattle ranches and coca (Erythroxylum sp.) plantations, following paramilitary occupation. Because the rates and extent of fragmentation are linked to such land use practices, armed groups may play a crucial role in determining the fate of Colombia's forests and their endemic biota.