Mongabay learned that the Superintendent of Notary and Registry has a record of empty lands being used illegally in seven Colombian departments.The illegally-used land is in the departments of Norte de Santander, Antioquia, Meta, Caquetá, Casanare, Cesar, and Vichada.The land makes up a total of 762,807 hectares (almost 1,885,000 acres). Carmelo Márquez always has a reason to fight. Every day, he fights tirelessly to defend his rights and the rights of his territory: Montes de María, a subregion comprised of 15 municipalities within the departments of Sucre and Bolívar in northern Colombia. Márquez’s experiences in life have taught him not to give up. He learned this lesson after having been forcibly displaced eight times by guerrilla groups and paramilitaries, being a silent witness to the aftermath of the 56 massacres that occurred around his land, and knowing that his friends were killed while fighting for what they considered fair. Every day he works his piece of land: he plants yams, yucca, corn, black tobacco, sesame, and other vegetables. The two hectares he works on are not technically his, but he takes care of them as if they were. The land Márquez works is part of a 23-hectare (about 57-acre) farm on a rural road called Villacolombia, in the Ovejas municipality in the Colombian department of Sucre. Márquez shares the work on the two hectares with six other families. They squeeze together to use the fertile soil, because it’s all that there is. That’s part of the reason why Márquez, who is 48 years old, has so much to fight for: much of the land is owned by just a few people, which has long been a common situation in Colombia. The problem even stimulated the creation of the FARC guerrilla group, which was demobilized in November 2016 after the signing of a peace agreement. In the municipalities of Ovejas, Carmen de Bolívar, and San Jacinto, there are hundreds of dissident farmers: since 2010, their land has been filled with plantations of teak (Tectona grandis), a tree whose wood is considered precious. This is because of a reforestation project by the cement company Argos, which aims to counteract the environmental effects of surface mining. The project also has an economic objective: when the teak trees reach maturity after about 20 years, the wood is exported by the company to obtain additional income. Eight years ago, the company purchased 6,600 hectares (over 16,300 acres) for planting teak trees, but they only planted them in 1,000 hectares (about 2,470 acres).