Cattle ranching driving deforestation in Colombian protected area

Monday, February 19th, 2018

An analysis of satellite data by the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP) has revealed that cattle ranching is driving deforestation within the La Paya National Park in the Colombian Amazon.

More than 1,200 hectares of forests were lost in 2016 to 2017 in and around La Paya. Deforestation in the region has increased since 2010, moving from surrounding areas into northern parts of the national park and culminating in a peak of nearly 1,500 hectares cleared in 2014.

MAAP’s analysis indicates that deforestation within La Paya is driven by cattle ranching. Cleared forests show large pasture areas, fencing, worn cattle paths and even herds of cows.

The La Paya National Park sits along Colombia’s southern border with Ecuador and Peru. According to Mongabay, it is classified under the most stringent land protection category in Colombia. The park is home to several Amazonian species, including manatees, river dolphins, woolly monkeys and giant anteaters.

Mongabay has reported that La Paya lost nearly 9,500 hectares of forests between 2001 and 2017. Of that, 1,420 hectares were lost from the park’s Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs), which are areas of primary and undisturbed forest.