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Giving Compass' Take:
• A paper published in the journal Land Use Policy indicates that Sri Lanka, Nepal, Peru, and Ivory Coast have experienced severe deforestation amid civil conflicts.
• Rebuilding efforts after a conflict is challenging due to political instability, weak implementation, and few resources once disputes die down. How can global leaders address deforestation post-conflict?
The advent of peace in four countries with long experiences of deadly armed conflict hasn't been kind to the environment, with a new study showing greater rates of deforestation during peacetime than during the years of war.
The paper, published in the journal Land Use Policy, shows how Sri Lanka, Nepal, Peru, and Ivory Coast experienced "alarming forest loss" in the years immediately after the end of their respective civil conflicts, based on analysis of forest-cover data gathered through remote-sensing methods.
"Rates of deforestation in war zones show a dramatic increase once peace is declared, and except for Nepal, it is significantly high for the other three countries we studied," says Nelson Grima, a co-author of the paper and postdoctoral associate at the University of Vermont's Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.
What the four countries do share, however, is a dire loss of forest cover. The average rate of deforestation in the five years after the end of the respective conflicts was 68 percent higher than in the last five years of the conflicts, according to the study. The data, based on analysis of Landsat satellite imagery, gave the global average rate of increase in deforestation as 7.2 percent.
During times of war, the researchers say, forests are used as cover for guerrilla fighting and secluded bases. As such, they become danger zones where few people are likely to enter if they're not involved in fighting. That also often means these forests are less likely to be logged or hunted in.
"When the fighting stops, often reconstruction efforts demand resources, and forests offer ample material and opportunity to help rebuild an economy and society. There is often political instability and weak policy implementation, allowing uncontrolled exploitation," the researchers said in the statement.
Read the full article about how civil conflict leads to deforestation by Dilrukshi Handunnetti at Pacific Standard.