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The deforestation of natural forests in Colombia, protection of our biodiversity
Colombia has a continental extension of 114 million hectares, of which 52% is covered with natural forests, which is equivalent to almost 60 million hectares, the regions of the Amazon and the peaceful being the most covered (mining , 2017) . Currently, he occupies the second place in biodiversity worldwide and is among the 12 most megadiverse nations of the planet. It is estimated that it has 54.871 registered species, with 3.625 exclusive species, 66 birds, 1.500 plants, 367 endemic amphibians (unique in Colombia), 115 reptiles, 34 mammals and 1543 orchids, 7.432 species of vertebrates: 479 mammals, 1889 birds, 571 reptiles, 803 amphibians, 2.000 marine fish, 1533 sweets.436 species of plants, 32 terrestrial biomes and 314 types of ecosystems, where the moor .
This environmental wealth makes Colombia a country of strategic importance, not only because of its high diversity of flora and fauna but also due to the role that forests fulfill in the regulation of world climate and as a source of absorption of gas effect The atmosphere, specifically CO2. This forces us to protect, preserve and conserve our biodiversity as a contribution to the fight against climate change and to guarantee future generations the right to life and a healthy environment. However, in practice this does not happen, because, over time, these natural resources have been reduced and are increasingly threatened by various factors derived from human activity, of which the mainly highlights the deforestation, which in most cases responds to the interests of certain individuals who destroy natural forests for their particular benefit.
Deforestation is considered a process focused on the felling of trees and burns; in which the entire forest area of any type of environment is destroyed, either for reasons of timber industry as well as for obtaining soils for agriculture or for mining or livestock purposes, respectively. This, it leads to the forests and jungles of the Earth are devoid of all types of vegetation; which causes a large number of damage associated with the quality of the soils (Peoples Summit, 2017) . It should also be noted that the loss of forests affects the supply and availability of water because when the vegetation is reduced in a basin there is nothing that retains the rain. Trees recycle moisture through their leaves and absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide (CO2), in addition, the decrease in forests alter delicate climatic balances and accelerate global warming by reducing the absorption of CO2 (Torres, 2017 ) .
The damages caused to ecosystems by deforestation are mostly irreversible because these lands change to other land uses, especially agricultural, mining uses, illicit crops, among others. For this reason, it is essential that the government establish effective mechanisms to control deforestation and this environmental damage is stopped that a few individuals are causing Colombia and humanity. In this essay, the different causes for which it is deforested in Colombia will be analyzed, as well as the different laws, programs and projects carried out by the National Government in order to protect these ecosystems so important to the health and well -being of the planet and of people, and finally an analysis will be made if these have been really effective.
In Colombia, institutions of a public and private nature have developed, intermittently, studies about the causes and agents of deforestation for more than twenty years and recently, other government and non -governmental organizations of a regional, national and international nature have been entering with more recurrence in the development of this type of characterization studies. However, a review of available studies reveals a set of weaknesses that must be overcome to enhance the impact that these initiatives can have on the search for this objective (Minambiente, 2018).
These weaknesses are derived from the fact that the studies of causes and agents of deforestation reviewed in many cases have been developed with different methodological and conceptual frameworks and the basic information on the forest coverage is not the same; In addition to this, emphasis is usually made to the direct causes of deforestation and little attention is paid to indirect or underlying causes, which motivate the agents to deforest, which due to their complexity usually relegate within the studies to very general descriptions And to the deforestation agents, who are the ones who make the decision to deforest and to whom a good part of the mitigation measures (Minambiente, 2018) must be directed . This, in part makes the task of the national government more difficult, when defining policies for the control and combat of this problem, which is evidenced in the few results obtained in the fight against deforestation, despite the efforts made by the different national and regional entities involved in this subject.
In addition to this, it is important to know the magnitude and geographical location of deforestation is of vital importance for making decisions at the local, regional and national level. According to the reports of the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies – IDEAM, entity in charge of the forest and carbon monitoring system in Colombia, in the period between 1990 – 2014, Colombia lost 5.896.889 hectares of natural forests, when having a 64 forest coverage.869.451 hectares in 1990 to an area of 58.965.562 hectares in 2014. During the 2015 – 2018 period, the deforestation figures published by this entity account for the loss of 720.614 hectares of natural forests lost due to deforestation.
The direct causes that originate this problem, unlike other countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Ivory and Brazil Coast, where natural forests are talked to establish agricultural and forest crops such as oil palm, cocoa, soy, rubber, forest plantations, in Colombia are related to the appropriation of nation’s wastelands located in forest reserve areas, with the planting of illicit crops, illegal mining, road infrastructure construction and the praderization of land for extensive livestock. According to the IDEAM, in its 2018 report, the appropriation of land of the Nation for land monopulation is the main cause of deforestation with an area of XXX hectares, followed by illegal crops with XX hectares and expansion of the border Agricultural for livestock with XXX hectares.
To deal with this issue, the Colombian government has a series of technical, legal and administrative instruments, which if applied would allow to effectively combat and control this destructive activity of the environment and natural resources. At the technical level, the Comprehensive Strategy for Control to the Deforestation and Management of Forests, presented to the country in 2015 by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development; The linking, in 2017, to the Tropical Forest Alliance-TFA created as a public-private-civil alliance, to reduce the deforestation of tropical forests around the world, and which is concentrated in the promotion of zero deforestation agreements for four (4) Of the agricultural activities that most impact forests, such as the production of oil palm, soybeans, paper/cellulose and livestock.
From the legal point of view, it has sanctioning procedures regulated by Law 1333 of 2009 that establishes the environmental sanction procedure and the ownership of the sanctioning power in environmental matters to impose and execute the preventive and sanctioning measures that Colombia needs; with criminal procedures defined in Law 599 of 2000 “Criminal Code”, whose title XI Articles 328 to 339 deal with crimes against natural resources and the environment; and the Police Code adopted by Law 1801 of 2016.
At the administrative level it has the Intersectoral Commission for the Control of Deforestation – CICOD, created through Decree 1257 of 2017, whose mission under the coordination of the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development and the senior counselor for the post -conflict, is to guide, articulate and Coordinate, among other issues, the policies, plans and programs that must carry out various entities for deforestation control. This commission was high at the National Council’s Fight Council and other associated environmental crimes-Conaldef, through Law 1955 of 2019 adopted by the National Development Plan of the President of the Republic for the 2018-2022 period 2018-2022. This change in the legal nature of CICOD, when from a commission created by Presidential Decree to a National Council created by Law of the Republic, prints greater relevance to the fight against this problem, if one takes into account that the change is accompanied of an recomposition of its members when passing from a commission composed of technical ministries to a council composed of members of the Public Force and the Attorney General’s Office, who have greater tools to exercise judicial governance and control in the territories.
Taking into account the aforementioned, in regards to the legal part, the regulation is very general when it comes to punishing the crimes related to damage and misuse of natural resources and is not specifically referred to the damages caused by the deforestation. However, it is evident that there really is a commitment from the Colombian government to control and reduce the negative effects of this phenomenon through other ways such as administrative and technical instruments