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Colombia

  • Amazon surface area: 477,000 kmē
  • Estimated deforestation per year: 2,000 kmē
  • Population: 46.1 million (UN, 2005)
  • Forest cover: 42%

The fourth largest country in South America and one of the continent's most populous nations, Colombia has substantial oil reserves and is a major producer of gold, silver, emeralds, platinum and coal.

Colombia is also a leading producer of coca, the plant that provides the main ingredient of cocaine.

In the highlands, an ongoing battle over coca cultivation has had a significant impact on forest cover. Dumping of chemicals used to process coca impacts heavily on the environment, whilst drug eradication efforts - particularly aerial fumigation - kill surrounding vegetation.

Deforestation in Colombia is a result of more than just the cocaine trade. Logging, mining, energy development, infrastructure construction, and agriculture are other significant factors.

(Sources: Conservation International, FAO, mongabay.com, Oxford University Environmental Change Institute, UN, WWF)
 
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