National and regional determinants of tropical deforestation in Colombia

Dolors Armenteras, Edersson Cabrera, Nelly Rodríguez, Javier Retana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)


Global tropical deforestation continues to occur at high rates despite political attention. National-level forest baselines are being established all over the world to guide the implementation of several policy mechanisms. However, identifying the direct and indirect drivers of deforestation and understanding the complexity of their interlinkages are often difficult. We first analyzed deforestation between 1990 and 2005 at the national level and found an annual deforestation rate of 0.62 %. Next, we performed separate analyses for four natural regions in Colombia and found annual deforestation rates between 0.42 and 1.92 %. Using general linear models, we identified several direct causes and underlying factors influencing deforestation at the national level: rural population density, cattle, protected areas, and slope. Significant differences in deforestation rates and causes were found across regions. In the Caribbean region, drivers of loss are urban population, unsatisfied basic needs, slope, and precipitation and four land use variables (illicit crops, pastures, cattle, and fires). In the Orinoco region, crops are the main driver of forest loss, and in the Amazonian region, deforestation is primarily due to fires related to the colonization front. Policy mechanisms will have to take into account regional patterns to successfully balance development and forest preservation in Colombia. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1181-1193
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2013


  • Colombia
  • Deforestation
  • Drivers
  • Heterogeneity
  • Regional
  • Tropical forest


Dive into the research topics of 'National and regional determinants of tropical deforestation in Colombia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this