“This is a country that has a forestry vocation,” says José Miguel Orozco, professor of forest governance and policy at Bogotá’s Francisco José de Caldas District University. High-altitude Andean forests, low-altitude basal forests, cloud forests, dry forests, mangroves: 52% of Colombia’s landmass is covered in forest, and it is the second most biodiverse country in the world, home to 58,312 known species. The highest concentrations of biodiversity occur in the Amazon and Pacific regions, which together are home to 80% of the country’s forests. Indigenous reserves steward 46% of Colombia’s forests, and Afro-Colombian communal territories account for 7.3%. About 16% fall under the protection of the country’s 59 national parks. These three systems have the highest levels of protection and some of the best conservation outcomes. And yet, Colombia’s forests are also being chopped down at an alarming rate. Colombia’s Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) monitors deforestation in the country and shows how deforestation went from 123,841 hectares (306,017 acres) in 2015, soaring to its highest-ever level of 219,552 hectares (542,525 acres) in 2017 before dropping to 158,894 hectares (392,636 acres) in 2019. Post-conflict period In 2016, the Colombian government signed a historic peace accord with the FARC rebels, ending more than half a century of civil war that left 260,000 people dead and 5 million people internally displaced. A consequence of the conflict was that Colombia’s forests remained relatively well-preserved, with the FARC rebels strictly controlling deforestation so as to conceal their movements and the illegal…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer