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Project February 16, 2022

Inside the Colombian Military's Anti-Deforestation Operations



Since 2019, Colombia has deployed thousands of its troops to tackle the Andean country's growing deforestation crisis. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia signed a peace treaty in 2016 and with their demobilization, the remote lands they once governed, and where they once restricted deforestation, have been opened up to new and old criminal groups that work in tandem with large-scale landowners.

Shortly after, deforestation rates skyrocketed. In a span of a few years, entire swathes of forest have disappeared. Thousands of hectares of the Amazon, a key carbon sink, have been consumed in flames. Today, even a national park is on the verge of disappearing.

With this daunting crisis at hand, Colombian President Ivan Duque has responded with military force, launching Operation Artemis in 2019. But how does this strategy work, how effective is it, and who are the individuals being targeted in these operations?

In this project, Al Jazeera English looks at the militarization of Colombia's anti-deforestation efforts and why this strategy invokes special cause for concern in a country already scarred by armed conflict.