- Multiple recent reports show that deforestation has greatly increased in Venezuela’s Amazonian states of Bolívar and Amazonas, largely due to illegal mining, expanded agriculture and fires.
- Venezuelan protected areas have been especially hard hit, with illegal incursions and major deforestation occurring inside Caura, Canaima and Yapacana national parks.
- Soaring deforestation rates are blamed partly on Colombian guerrillas operating illegally within Venezuela’s borders, an invasion that one report alleges has been supported by the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
- Forest loss has been well confirmed via satellite, while ground truthing has been obtained via firsthand accounts.
We present here the first report of a series focused on the Venezuelan Amazon, which covers over 47 million hectares of the northern section of the Amazon biome (above western Brazil).
As the Amazon Base Map indicates, Venezuela is a key part to the remaining core Amazon that is still functioning as a critical carbon sink, making it an important piece to long-term conservation strategies.
However, deforestation has been increasing in recent years (see graph in Base Map), indicating escalating threats.
- A report from the Political Ecology Observatory of Venezuela (OEP) lays out the worst environmental conflicts that the South American country faced in 2021.
- Among them are oil spills, deforestation, mining, and a lack of clean water in areas with degraded watersheds.
- The report notes the continuing difficulty of tracking environmental parameters in Venezuela, due to the lack of transparency by government at all levels.
- Regardless, it notes that last year’s events contributed to numerous public health crises.