Deforestation in Colombia, a call for the protection of our ecosystems

The protection of our forests and moors must be a priority in the fight for climate change and the protection of the environment . The indiscriminate felling of trees affects entire ecosystems and destroys essential ecological relationships for people, the climate, and wildlife, and is the cause of the loss of millions of hectares of tree cover every year. This is why, in addition to the restoration of the Amazon and the strengthening of the social fabric for which we work every day, we understand that it is essential to report on phenomena like this in order to act and change the current situations in Colombia and the world. From Saving The Amazon we tell you what deforestation is, its impact and we present our report on deforestation in Colombia from 1990 to 2018.

Deforestation has many negative effects on the environment, including the loss of habitat for millions of species. National Geographic photography

Deforestation has many negative effects on the environment, including the loss of habitat for millions of species. National Geographic photography

What is deforestation?

Deforestation is the change of tree cover or forested areas to non-forested lands for urban use, housing, illegal logging and mainly, for the expansion of livestock and extensive crops. This exploitation of forests leads not only to the loss of tree cover, but to everything that this loss brings with it, such as: various ecological and environmental imbalances, and results in the decrease of habitat and biodiversity . The main causes of this problem are urbanization, mining, natural and arson fires, legal and illegal logging, and extensive agriculture.

Deforestation is a global problem and must be counteracted as such. “The last fifty years have entailed a cost of deforestation never seen before in the history of mankind, destroying 15% of the world's vegetation surface equivalent to the territory of Spain, Portugal and France”1. When we talk about ecosystems threatened by deforestation, we should talk mainly about tropical forests, since they are perhaps the most threatened habitat on earth and the most vulnerable to this problem. Even between 1990 and 2015 the world lost about 129 million hectares of forests, an area the size of South Africa [read: Importance of forests ] and Colombia is not far behind. In Colombia we are very lucky, because we are one of the most biodiverse places in the world, but while we lose these ecosystems, we lose the species that inhabit it, we have a negative impact on climate change and the communities that inhabit these spaces, thus producing not only an effect directly in the fauna and flora of the forests, but in all the ecosystems and societies that depend indirectly on them.

  1. Cristina Crespo Garay in The deforestation of the Amazon reaches historical levels due to the consumption of meat from National Geographic.

Deforestation in Colombia

Deforestation in Colombia is a broad and transversal problem, "the adequate use of the soil plays a fundamental role in sustainable development at any scale, both regionally or nationally, as well as internationally. From this perspective, and taking into account that more than 50% of the Colombian territory is covered by forests, it is important to strengthen efforts to protect these forest covers”2. With this in mind and understanding the importance of preserving our threatened ecosystems, we have compiled in a report the data on deforestation in Colombia between 1990 and 2018 based on the results that the Forest and Carbon Monitoring System (SMByC) presents in its digital platform.

The cyan colored dots represent the deforested areas in the areas classified as Indigenous Reservations, in this case we see a strong presence around the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

This document allows us to know the state of the forest and the levels of deforestation in Colombia through a comparison discriminated by the natural regions of the country (Amazon, Andean, Caribbean, Orinquía and Pacific) with the indigenous territories and black communities and the qualified territories as protected areas within the National System of Protected Areas (SINAP). In addition to presenting the figures corresponding to each region of the country, the research, consolidated by our Environmental Engineer Juan Sebastián Moyano, allows the analysis of the problems caused by deforestation. Download the report here

The different regions of the country present relevant deforestation rates both in the Indigenous Reservations and in the SINAP areas, which are mainly natural parks.

The report also shows a relevant problem in protected areas, since in several regions it is evident how indigenous reservations and SINAP areas, territories that have special management, are severely affected and contribute more than half of the deforestation at the national level. annual national. This means that the protected areas are not really being safeguarded. This problem presented in special protection areas, in addition to fulfilling an indicative function in terms of forest conservation and allowing us to compare against regions that do not have any type of protection, triggers another series of concerns for communities that are losing their territories. and they are seeing how their worldview is violated.

Download the report here

Each month we will address deforestation in Colombia from a different approach, since the compilation of the figures from the Forest and Carbon Monitoring System (SMByC) allow us a broad temporal and spatial overview in order to understand that beyond being an environmental problem It is an issue that evidences and generates social and economic problems in the country and worldwide. In the same way, having the data and information corresponding to this national problem, it is intended later, from the different causes of deforestation, to propose possible efficient and comprehensive solutions to avoid the continuity of this problem.

2. Juan Sebastian Moyano in Report on deforestation in Colombia for the period 1990-2018 with an emphasis on indigenous territories and SINAP territories by Saving The Amazon

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  • Very proud to have my tree it’s a small step in a big fight!

  • Gracias por compartir esto. Estoy de acuerdo que la deforestación en Colombia es mala para el medio ambiente y también es parte de un problema más grande de la deforestación mundial. Si el gobierno no hace nada de la deforestación de la selva podría ser una amenza terrible al biodiversidad de Colombia. A veces tenemos que priorizar el medio ambiente y no las compañías.

    Jack Visnjevac
  • Me gustaría formar parte de ésta organización y promover la conciencia ambiental y crear herramientas para su sostenibilidad

    Karen Soledad Ramírez Espinoza
  • Gracias por compartir esta información, la verdad es que detrás de todo esto, se pregunta uno, que carajos hace el gobierno Nacional para cumplir con su deber, en su papel de salvaguardar los Ecosistemas considerados en el SINAP, piensa uno que a parte del derroche de recursos naturales que a diario se pierden en las áreas naturales que no han sigo integradas o declarados cómo reservas y/o areas protegidas el gobierno cumple son su papel y se esfuerza por cuidar las áreas del SINAP, es claro ver qué el papel que desempeña el Ministerio de Medio Ambiente cómo entidad suprema en la protección de los recursos es pésima, de hecho nula. Deberíamos exigir la integración de tecnologías informáticas y geográficas SIG en conjunto con la fotogrametría y vuelos con drones sobre los puntos calientes dónde se evidencia deforestación para hacer frente a este problema de carácter Urgente Nacional e internacional, pues los recursos naturales son patrimonio de la humanidad

    Sergio Steven Polania Arcila

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