Colombia gets serious about desertification


The Colombian municipalities of Alpujarra and Dolores are slowly turning into desert. Rainwater—when it comes—races through crevices down the foothills of the eastern Andean range, lost to human use. Temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) bake a hard-crusted earth stripped of its tropical dry forests years ago by slash-and-burn agriculture. Conditions for many of the 5,000 peasant farmers of the two municipalities, which are located in the central department of Tolima, are so dire that crop cultivation is impossible. Impoverished, they subsist instead on livestock in a bleak landscape of cactus and thorn forest. When Colombia’s government decided last year to develop pilot projects to address desertification, one of them was earmarked for Alpujarra and Dolores. Dozens of... [Log in to read more]

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