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August 13
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Colombia's first elected "leftist" president, Gustavo Petro, will take office in August with ambitious proposals to stop the record-high rate of deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, the AP reported.

Petro promised to limit agribusiness expansion into the forests and create reservations where indigenous communities and others would be allowed to harvest rubber, acai and other non-timber forest products. He also promised that revenue from carbon credits would be used to fund forest plantations.

“From Colombia, we will give humanity a reward, a remedy, a solution: not to burn the Amazon rainforest anymore, to recover it to its natural frontier, to give humanity the possibility of life on this planet,” Petro, wearing an Indigenous headdress, said to a crowd in the Amazon city of Leticia during his campaign.

The task of stopping deforestation seems more difficult than ever. In 2021, the Colombian Amazon lost 98,000 hectares of virgin forest to logging and another 9,000 hectares to fires. Both were lower than in 2020, but 2021 was still the fourth worst year ever, according to the Andean Amazon Monitoring Project.

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