The 52-year conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) provided a violent environmental shield against widespread deforestation, because the trees provided refuge for the guerrillas. The Farc built an illegal road south of Vergara’s farm, hidden under a canopy of trees, to transport coca from deep within in the jungle. As the Farc demobilised, deforestation soared by 44% in 2016 with a rush of land-grabbing to plant coca and clear land for cattle ranches. The Farc road has widened and now expands further into the Amazon, leaving an environmental scar of war.
“The peace process in some parts of Colombia is backfiring for the environment,” says Cristián Samper, executive director of the Wildlife Conservation Society, who also sits on the national science advisory council in Colombia. “Right now there is real danger from the lack of environmental governance. We will lose some of these places before we even have a chance to conserve them.”
Read more of this article that was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting here: ‘It’s a perverse system’: how Colombia’s farmers are reforesting their logged land | Environment | The Guardian