Cattle, not coca, drive deforestation of the Amazon in Colombia – report

Authorities have blamed the growing of coca – the base ingredient of cocaine – for clearcutting, but a recent study shows otherwise
The Guardian (UK)
Sunday, February 19, 2023

deforestationCattle-ranching, not cocaine, has driven the destruction of the Colombian Amazon over the last four decades, a new study has found. Successive recent governments have used environmental concerns to justify ramping up their war on the green shrub, but the research shows that in 2018 the amount of forest cleared to cultivate coca, the base ingredient of cocaine, was only 1/60th of that used for cattle. The study’s findings vindicate conservation experts who have long argued that Colombia’s strategy to conserve the Amazon – often centered on combating coca production – has been misplaced. “We want to finally eradicate this narrative that coca is the driver of deforestation.” (See also: IDPC analysis of the UNODC World Drug Report 2022)