Of this lost forest, 900 square kilometers (350 square miles) were in the environmental corridor that connects the national parks of La Macarena and Serranía del Chiribiquete.The government was late to arrive to the territories left by the now-disbanded FARC guerrilla group.New paramilitary groups, including former factions of the FARC, the ELN guerrillas, criminal gangs and drug-trafficking enterprises have taken control of the territory, causing immense environmental and social damage.The region is now facing an acceleration of what many have long feared: deforestation, land grabbing, expansion of the agricultural frontier, and an increase in illicit crop cultivation and illegal mining. There are various competing land uses of the Amazon rainforest. The region in southern Colombia that until less than two years ago was the stronghold of the FARC guerrilla group has become the shelter of a criminal structure that unites the dissidents of the now-defunct guerrilla group, criminal gangs and political and economic actors seeking to take over those lands. After the signing of a peace agreement with the government in November 2016, the FARC left the territories it had ruled for half a century. The objective was for the government to establish its presence in those places historically affected by the armed conflict. But that did not happen. The region is now facing an acceleration of what many have long feared: deforestation, land grabbing, expansion of the agricultural frontier, and an increase in illicit crops and illegal mining. “Groups are bringing people into the territory and giving them land illegally,” a resident, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, told Mongabay. “Then they send them to buy cows … they tell them: ‘cut trees here,’ ‘put them [cows] here,’ ‘plant a little bit of coca…’ “Farmers are spending all their money on this business and they do it because the government has no governance over the baldíos [state-owned property]. Entire localities of some municipalities have disappeared because they have been bought by a single person.” The resident’s claim is confirmed by Gen. César Parra, commander of the sixth division of the National Army, which operates in part of the Colombian Amazon. Parra said that ever since the government agreed in the peace deal that more than 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) of land would be legalized and 30,000 square kilometers (11,600 square miles) more would be redistributed, many villagers were looking for a piece of land to settle on. It is clear that, although the army could reach any corner of the country, it is necessary for the government to be present in these territories.