Illicit crops in tropical America: Deforestation, landslides and the terrestrial carbon stocks

TitleIllicit crops in tropical America: Deforestation, landslides and the terrestrial carbon stocks
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsT. Lopez, delM, Juan F Blanco, Arroyave, A
JournalAMBIO
Volume37
Issue2
Pagination141-143
Date Published2008
Accession NumberLUQ.833
Keywordscarbon stocks, deforestation, illegal crops, Landsliding Risk
Abstract

The 250 landslides that simultaneously occurred in the Río Tarazá basin, Antioquia Department, in Colombia after the torrential rains of 19 and 20 May 2007 (Fig. 1) rank among the major rainfalltriggered disasters in this country (1). According to an official report, about 3000 ha, mostly covered by illegal cash crops, were wasted, thus reviving the discussion on the ecological impacts of illicit crops in Tropical America. These landslides and debris flow killed 13 peasants associated with coca bush (Erythroxylum coca) crops, forced evacuation of 67 people from indigenous reservations, and caused the temporary relocation of 600 families from the partially flooded town. Road infrastructure, lowland crops, and private buildings were also damaged. Such a number of landslides far exceeded previous landsliding recorded in Colombia during very wet years. For instance, during La Niña 1999.2000, the wettest year in record nationwide, the departmental maximum was 80 landslides and the municipal maximum was 8 (1). Larger numbers of landslides have only occurred after earthquakes, volcanic activity, and localized infrequent torrential rainfall (.200 mm h-1) in Colombia (2) and other regions of Tropical America (3)

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