Deforestation in Colombia increased by 16 percent in 2014, according to a study published Friday by the country’s Ministry of Environment.
Mining, illegal logging, the growth of pastoral areas, forest fires and illegal coca cultivation have caused a total loss of 140 356 hectares in natural forests in 2014, the study found.
The increase in deforestation, mostly in the Amazon, amounts to 16 percent in comparison to 2013, when it reached 120 000 hectares.
The deforestation rate in Colombia is feared to be even higher in 2015 due to environmental phenomena such as El Niño and forest fires, warned the Ombudsman of Colombia.
An estimated 92,000 hectares of forest have been wiped out in the first eight months of this year alone. In the last 24 years, Colombia has lost over 6 million hectares of forest.The news coincides with the publication of another study on Friday, saying more than half of the tree species in South America's Amazon are at risk of extinction due to ongoing deforestation to clear land for farming, ranching and other purposes.