Heavy tropical tree-cover loss in region in 2017


Fires of this type in the Brazilian Amazon, deliberately set to open land for pasture, escaped control amid a severe drought last year, contributing to an extensive loss of forest cover in the region. (Pederilhos/shutterstock)

A 2016 peace agreement in Colombia continues to fuel huge amounts of forest clearing as ranchers, farmers and land speculators move into Amazonian areas previously occupied by the insurgent Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Tree-cover loss in the country stood at 425,000 hectares (1.05 million acres) last year, up 45% from 2016. In the Brazilian Amazon, fires set to clear jungle for ranching and farming spread out of control amid severe drought, contributing to a nationwide 4.5-million-hectare (11.1-million-acre) decrease in tree cover, the tropical world’s highest level of deforestation in 2017. And in Paraguay, cattle ranching is claiming ever greater tracts of the dry-thorn woodlands and savannah known as the Chaco, driving a 360,000-hectare (890,000-acre) nationwide... [Log in to read more]

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