"RIO DE JANEIRO — Gustavo Petro, Colombia’s first elected leftist president, will take office in August with ambitious proposals to halt the record-high rates of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Petro has promised to limit agribusiness expansion into the forest, and create reserves where Indigenous communities and others are allowed to harvest rubber, acai and other non-timber forest products. He has also pledged income from carbon credits to finance replanting.
“From Colombia, we will give humanity a reward, a remedy, a solution: not to burn the Amazon rainforest anymore, to recover it to its natural frontier, to give humanity the possibility of life on this planet,” Petro, wearing an Indigenous headdress, said to a crowd in the Amazon city of Leticia during his campaign.
But to do that he first needs to establish reign over large, lawless areas.
The task of stopping deforestation seems more challenging than ever. In 2021, the Colombian Amazon lost 98000 hectares (more than 240,000 acres) of pristine forest to deforestation and another 9,000 hectares (22,000 acres) to fire. Both were down from what they had been in 2020, but 2021 was still the fourth worst year on record according to Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP), an initiative of the nonprofit Amazon Conservation Association."