A resolution signed in June to allow agricultural development on 35% (40 million hectares) of Colombia’s land could risk compromising the government’s 2016 Peace Agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces (see also Nature 558, 169–170; 2018). The agreement places strict controls on the transformation of national lands and environmentally important areas.
At present, just 20% of that land is under cultivation. How the other 80% may be used is unspecified, but we fear that ecologically friendly farming and traditional production systems — such as cattle ranching in flooded savannahs in the Orinoquía region — are likely to be replaced by more-intensive forms of land exploitation.
The expansion threatens the peace process and prospects for sustainable rural development — already a challenge in a country where only 16% of the soil is legally protected against degradation (see go.nature.com/2v997uv).
Nature 560, 29 (2018)