Between 2010 and 2020, South America lost an average of 2.6 million hectares of forest per year, according the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). In other words, the continent lost an area of forest the size of Ecuador in the space of a decade. And this rate of forest loss only appears to be increasing. Satellite data from the University of Maryland visualized on the online platform Global Forest Watch show tree cover loss in South America rose 2.8% between 2018 and 2019. Colombia, Peru and Bolivia had particularly big surges in deforestation. “We’ve been noticing an upsurge in deforestation in recent years in the Amazon, in general,” says María Olga Borja, a deforestation specialist at EcoCiencia, in Ecuador, and an analyst at the Amazon Network of Georeferenced Socio-environmental Information (RAISG). Preliminary UMD data for 2020 indicate a similar trend in 2020, with many regions registering higher numbers of deforestation alerts than during the same periods in 2019. For instance, between January and October 2020, UMD registered some 16,300 deforestation alerts in just two protected areas: Catatumbo Barí National Natural Park in Colombia and Concepción Lake Ramsar site in Bolivia. In addition, UMD recorded 57,600 alerts in two Indigenous territories: the Siona territory located on the border between Ecuador and Colombia and the Cacataibo Santa Martha Indigenous community in Peru. After cutting down the trees, invaders wait a month to start burning the logs and, later, planting coca which is used to make cocaine. Photo by…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer