Report: Colombia's coca crop a forest killer

AP News
Posted: Dec 14, 2011 3:58 PM

A new study says more than 3,000 square miles (800,000 hectares) of Colombia's woodlands have been cleared since 1981 in the planting and destruction of drug crops.

The study released Wednesday by Colombia's government and the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime was authored by economist Ricardo Rocha. He says deforestation has been devastating, as old-growth forests are felled for coca growing, contaminated by chemicals used in processing then further ravaged by defoliants used in coca eradication.

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He says one-fifth of Colombia's roughly 1,000 municipalities are affected.

According to the U.N., Colombia had 240 square miles (62,000 hectares) of coca under cultivation last year.