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Deforestation increase dovetails with armed conflict in Colombia, study finds

18 / 09 / 2019, Mongabaycom News

Many of the world’s armed conflicts occur in areas with high biodiversity, according to a 2009 study published in Biological Conservation. The study found that more than 80 percent of such conflicts occurred in biodiversity hotspots, yet their impact on flora and fauna have rarely been studied since. Colombia is home to so many species that it is considered “megadiverse,” and it has also experienced relatively high levels of armed conflict. A new study published in Biological Conservation analyzed the relationship between armed conflict and deforestation in Colombia between 2000 and 2015. The study also involved 17 other related variables, including the distribution of coca crops, the plant from which cocaine is produced. One of the study’s main conclusions was that “[d]eforestation was positively associated with armed conflict intensity and proximity to illegal coca plantations,” especially in the Colombian Amazon. Higher amounts of deforestation were also associated with proximity to mining concessions, oil wells, and road networks. These maps published in the study show deforested areas, with red indicating more deforestation than green. Image courtesy of Negret et al., 2019. The effects of armed conflict Pablo José Negret, a Colombian biologist at the University of Queensland in Australia, was the lead author of the study. “It has been speculated that there is a relationship between armed conflict and deforestation, but it had never been analyzed statistically. We showed that with more armed conflict comes more deforestation. Additionally, we analyzed coca crops, which had been done before. Researcher Liliana Dávalos has…

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