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Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life
Deforestation in the Tibú municipality. Colombian Army Vulcano Task Force

By René Mora, Translated by Romina Castagnino

  • Catatumbo Barí National Natural Park protects the unique, remote rainforest in northeastern Colombia.
  • Satellite data show the park lost 6.2% of its tree cover between 2001 and 2019, with several months of unusually high deforestation in 2020.
  • Sources say illegal coca cultivation is rapidly expanding in and around Catatumbo Barí and is driving deforestation as farmers move in and clear forest to grow the illicit crop, which is used to make cocaine.
  • Area residents say armed groups are controlling the trade of coca in and out of the region, and are largely operating in an atmosphere of impunity.

The Catatumbo River originates in northeastern Colombia's Norte de Santander Department and flows to Venezuelan Lake Maracaibo. For generations, it has provided passage for fishermen and small farmers; but increasingly, it is being used to transport illegal good like weapons, timber and coca crops, from which cocaine is produced.

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This picture taken on September 16, 2015 shows 13-year-old Indonesian girl Asnimawati working at a palm oil plantation area in Pelalawan, Riau province in Indonesia's Sumatra island. ADEK BERRY / AFP / Getty Images

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stocknroll / Getty Images

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The Ebo Forest in Cameroon, Africa, is a biodiversity hotspot, home to an amazing range of wildlife, including forest elephants, gorillas, drills, chimpanzees, grey parrots and the goliath frog. San Diego Zoo Global

By Lamfu Fabrice Yengong and Sylvie Djacbou Deugoue

Biodiversity loss is a global crisis. In May last year, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) warned that over 1,000,000 species are threatened with extinction worldwide. On May 22, the International Day of Biodiversity, it is important to recall the silent victims of our country's obsession for industrial growth at the expense of our forests.

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Aerial view of the Esperanca IV informal gold mining camp, near the Menkragnoti indigenous territory, in Altamira, Para state, Brazil, in the Amazon basin, on August 28, 2019. Joao LAET / AFP / Getty Images

By Peter Yeung

From the skies above Creporizao, a remote town in the south of the Brazilian Amazon, the surrounding area looks like a vast blanket of dark green rainforest. But along the dirt roads and rivers that run through it like arteries are telling patches of muddy brown: illegal gold mines.

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