Colombia deforestation fell to 23-year low in 2023

by Admin
Colombia deforestation fell to 23-year low in 2023

Deforestation in Colombia fell 36% to a 23-year low in 2023, driven by declining environmental destruction in the Amazon region, the environment ministry said on Monday.

Nationally, deforestation fell to just over 792 square kilometers (305 square miles) last year, down from around 1,235 square kilometers in 2022, the ministry said in a statement.

Colombia is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries and is home to thousands of plant and animal species. However, like elsewhere in the region, it loses swathes of forest to deforestation each year.

The government of leftist President Gustavo Petro says it is prioritizing the protection of Colombia’s environment and has called on rich nations to cancel foreign debt in exchange for conserving areas like the Amazon, whose destruction scientists say could worsen global climate change.

“It’s really good news … but we definitely cannot say that the battle is won,” Environment Minister Susana Muhamad told journalists in Colombia’s capital Bogota.

Deforestation in Colombia’s Amazon region – traditionally the driver of the national figure — declined 38% to around 443 square kilometers, down from close to 712 square kilometers in 2022.

Despite the strong performance in cutting deforestation in 2023, Muhamad in April warned that deforestation had increased in 2024 amid dry conditions exacerbated by a strong El Nino weather phenomenon.

In May, eight sources told Reuters that government measures to tackle illegal roads in Colombia’s Amazon region had stalled, while environmental procurator Gustavo Guerrero — who works for a state watchdog which keeps tabs on officials — said the hold-up amounted to an “evident failure.”

Colombia’s government will continue to roll out plans including tackling environmental crime, strengthening institutions and working with communities to prevent deforestation, Muhamad said.

Colombia will host the COP16 U.N. biodiversity summit in the city of Cali later this year.

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