Stopping deforestation: lessons from Colombia

May 01, 2020

A study of deforestation in Colombia by researchers from The University of Queensland has revealed some valuable insights which could be used to help slow deforestation in areas around the globe.

PhD student Pablo Negret led an effort to compare the effectiveness of protected areas in Colombia with otherwise similar non-protected sites between 2000 and 2015.

"In Colombia, there has been constant deforestation within protected areas during this 15-year period," Mr Negret said.

"This is mainly due to a lack of capacity to control illegal exploitation of resources in these areas.

"However, there was around 40 per cent less deforestation in protected areas when compared to similar areas without protection," Mr Negret said.

Despite poorer outcomes in some areas, it was clear to the researchers that most protected areas slowed deforestation.

"We also looked at regional differences and found that protected areas in the Pacific were less effective than elsewhere," Mr Negret said.

"The Pacific region of Colombia is extremely biodiverse and globally important with a high concentration of endemic species, so ensuring these protected areas work is especially important."

The team used forest cover information collected from satellites, with data covering 17 variables associated with deforestation, to compare both protected and non-protected areas that had similar environmental and social characteristics.

In total, the researchers analysed the effectiveness of 116 protected areas, which represent 9.8 per cent of the country's continental area.

UQ's Professor Martine Maron said the study showed how understanding the effectiveness of protected areas could be extremely useful in informing national and global conservation decisions.

"Protected areas can be less effective - either because they still experience deforestation or because they're placed in locations where no deforestation would have occurred even if they weren't protected," Professor Maron said.

"Evaluating the impact protected areas make to deforestation can help with determining whether to invest in improved management in existing protected areas or increase their coverage in strategic locations - or both.

"We hope that these insights can be taken into account in Colombia and around the globe.

"A similar approach can help any country or region effectively assess the performance of their protected areas at preventing ecosystem loss."
-end-
The research has been published in Conservation Biology (DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13522).

University of Queensland

Related Deforestation Articles from Brightsurf:

Degradation outpaces deforestation in Brazilian Amazon
The area of the Brazilian Amazon affected by forest degradation--where forest biomass is lost but not completely converted to another use--is greater than the area affected by deforestation, according to a long-term study by Eraldo Aparecido Trondoli Matricardi and colleagues.

Growing demand for zero-deforestation cacao might not help Colombian forests
Cacao in Colombia is not a major driver of deforestation - yet.

Small-farm tech reduces deforestation, climate change
Small farms in Zambia that use the latest hybrid seed for maize, help reduce deforestation and tackle climate change in a new Cornell University study.

The complex relationship between deforestation and diet diversity in the Amazon
As increasing areas of the Amazonian rainforest are converted into agricultural land, scientists are examining how this is linked with local communities' food access.

Why are we still failing to stop deforestation?
While national and international efforts to reverse the trend of deforestation have multiplied in recent years, there is still no clear evidence to suggest that these initiatives are actually working.

Stopping deforestation: lessons from Colombia
A study of deforestation in Colombia by researchers from The University of Queensland has revealed some valuable insights which could be used to help slow deforestation in areas around the globe.

Climate may play a bigger role than deforestation in rainforest biodiversity
In a study on small mammal biodiversity in the Atlantic Forest, researchers found that climate may affect biodiversity in rainforests even more than deforestation does.

Study finds deforestation is changing animal communication
Deforestation is changing the way monkeys communicate in their natural habitat, according to a new study.

Geographers find tipping point in deforestation
University of Cincinnati geography researchers have identified a tipping point for deforestation that leads to rapid forest loss.

Amazon deforestation has a significant impact on the local climate in Brazil
The loss of forest cover in the Amazon has a significant impact on the local climate in Brazil, according to a new study.

Read More: Deforestation News and Deforestation Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.