- Illegal logging is widespread with illegal timber from the Amazon region primarily supplying the domestic market. Most timber sold to international markets is sourced from the Pacific region of Colombia. Governance remains weak in both the Amazon and Pacific regions.
- For all regions, fraud and corruption are common and there is a risk that illegal timber is laundered into supply chains for both the domestic and international markets.
- Despite several high-profile operations, enforcement is limited in capacity and Regional Environmental Authorities (REAs) do not monitor industry compliance with forest laws with enough regularity.
- Smuggled Peruvian and Ecuadorian timber is reportedly laundered into Colombian supply chains.
- Colombia imports and exports timber of unknown legal origin in violation of Colombian law.
- Colombia has a timber import regulation, but it appears rarely enforced.
Read more by downloading the Colombia Timber Legality Risk Dashboard here.
Reuters — Colombia will focus on combating deforestation, exerting greater control over the cattle industry and will also propose cancelling external debt in exchange for conserving the environment, Environment Minister Susana Muhamad said recently.
BOGOTA (Reuters) -Deforestation in Colombia edged up for the second year in a row in 2021, rising 1.5% versus 2020 levels, the environment ministry said on Friday, as environmentalists warned of the impact of a high number of fires this year.
In 2021, 174,103 hectares (430,218 acres) of forest were destroyed, the ministry said in a statement.
Though no comparative figure was given on Friday, the ministry last year said 171,685 hectares had been destroyed in 2020.
The increase on-year takes the government further away from its target of reducing the rate by 30%.
The U.S. and Spanish governments are supporting Colombia’s efforts to curb deforestation and environmental crimes driven by narcotrafficking and organized crime. As such, the Spanish Interior Ministry and the Colombian Ministry of Defense agreed February 17, 2022 to strengthen their collaboration against these crimes, the Spanish government said in a statement.
Drug trafficking, illegal mining, and illegal logging in Latin America not only fuel violence, but also destroy the environment. “There was record destruction of the Amazon in 2020, as the rainforest loss an area around the size of Belize, and the situation looks even bleaker in 2021,” Insight Crime, an organization that studies organized crime in Latin America, said in a December 2021 report.
Government officials are hunting suspects accused of setting wildfires – but genuinely slowing rising deforestation will require a more proactive government presence in threatened areas, analysts warn.
Intense fires in Colombia’s Amazon region so far this year point to rising deforestation by people clearing land for ranching and other uses, alarming environment groups, while officials also warned of pollution caused by smoke. The burning is occurring in Colombia’s so-called arc of deforestation in Caqueta, Meta and Guaviare provinces, where it creeps into national parks and parts of the Amazon rainforest. Preserving the forest is considered vital for curbing climate change.
A new law in Colombia aims to address widespread impunity in cases of environmental crime and curb escalating rates of deforestation. The legislation, which took effect last August, comes at a time when deforestation continues to climb in Colombia, where more than 171,000 hectares (423,000 acres) were cleared in 2020.
Deforestation has risen in Colombia since the country’s largest guerilla group signed a historic peace deal with the government five years ago and withdrew from remote areas of the country, a report by the International Crisis Group found. The report published on Thursday said that cattle ranchers, loggers, miners, subsistence farmers and criminal groups have moved into areas formerly controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and are burning down forests to make way for legal and illegal businesses.
Deforestation is the most visible face of environmental crime in Colombia’s Amazon. From around 2016, the region’s forests registered accelerating encroachment and destruction. According to the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (Instituto de Hidrología, Meteorología y Estudios Ambientales — IDEAM), in 2013, just 120,933 hectares of forest were destroyed when the agency began producing its annual deforestation monitoring report.