Indigenous communities in southern Colombia denounce invasion of their territories by cattle ranchers


This post draws extensively from an article published by Semana Sostenible

In the southern Putumayo Department, which borders Peru and Ecuador in the Colombian Amazon, indigenous communities have denounced illegal invasions and deforestation of their lands by cattle ranchers.

According to the latest issue of Semana Sostenible, an environmental quarterly Colombian magazine, the indigenous communities Nukanchiruna, Chaibajú and Uaima have demanded, so far without success, that ranchers remove their cattle from their territories.

At Nukanchiruna, residents of the kichwa ethnicity allege that ranchers have occupied and cleared 170 hectares of forests on their land in recent years.

The communities have expressed concern that if ranches continue to advance into the reservation their water sources and livelihoods will be affected.

They claim that even when ranches, several of which extend for more than 300 ha, do not encroach on their lands, cattle are allowed to move around and destroy their cassava and plantain cultivations.

The communities have been settled within the Alto Predio Putumayo indigenous reservation since 2007 following an agreement with INCODER (Colombian Institute for Rural Development, a now extinct government body).

The Alto Predio Putumayo reservation, Colombia’s largest with an area of 5.5 million ha, covers the municipality of Puerto Leguízamo, one of eight municipalities in Colombia that concentrate over 50% of deforestation in the country.

According to Semana Sostenible, Corpoamazonia, a government body tasked with promoting the sustainable development of Colombia’s southern Amazon region, has been investigating cases of illegal occupation of indigenous territories by ranchers.

Ranchers defend themselves by claiming that they have legal titles to the lands and that it is the government’s responsibility to manage land conflicts in the region. They have also alleged that they’ve only appropriated areas that had been abandoned.

Colombia’s forests have made headlines in recent months due to increases of over 40 percent in illegal deforestation rates following the 2016 peace agreement between the FARC guerilla and the government. Conservationists have claimed that the guerilla’s demobilisation and an absence of state presence in several areas have led to land grabbers and organised crime moving into protected areas and illegally clearing forests to sell the land to ranchers, farmers and miners.

More from Illegal Deforestation Monitor

The Carbon Lottery /  Europe blind to potentially huge Brazilian beef carbon footprints

Continue reading
Tanah Merah / Sawmill legality certificate revoked in forgery fiasco at heart of Papua oil palm mega-project 

Continue reading
Covid-19 / Pandemic compounds local ire against palm oil firms in West Africa

Continue reading
ISPO / Indonesia's recent “reform” of palm oil sustainability scheme criticised for threatening forests and human rights

Continue reading
UK military / Brazil beef supplier used by Ministry of Defence buys from farmers guilty of illegal deforestation, fires and fraud

Continue reading
Cameroon / Local women fight back against controversial palm oil, rubber firms accused of destroying community way of life 

Continue reading
Mexico / Decline of monarch butterflies shows need for greater forest protections

Continue reading
Cocoa / New report emphasises threats major firms face in not having a full picture of their supply chains

Continue reading
Colniza massacre / Repórter Brasil investigation reveals links between JBS and Marfrig and  farmer accused of brutal 2017 killings

Continue reading
Tanah Merah / Auditor kayu Indonesia akan menyelidiki tuduhan izin-izin palsu bagi kayu senilai $6Milyar

Continue reading

Stay up to date with all Earthsight news & updates

Receive email updates for the latest news and insights from Earthsight and be among the first to read our new investigations.

We keep your data secure and don’t share anything with third parties. Read full terms.