Colombian forest recovery is bittersweet

Between 2001 and 2010, Colombia has gained nearly 17,000 square kilometers of forest, but grasslands suffered a sharp loss of forest as a result of expanding fields for crops.

  • Satellite imagery was used to identify vegetation change across Colombia.
  • Forest was found to increase on areas defined as mangrove, desert, and mountain grassland. 70% of the total forest recovery was evident in the Andes mountain region.
  • However, these results are bittersweet as forest cover on grasslands fell by 8.1 percent as agriculture expansion and oil/gas development occurred.
  • It is believed the forests’ recovery is down to the abandonment of the region by people. Increased economic opportunity in the cities and human conflicts in the area have all led to people abandoning these regions allowing the forests to recover.

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