Next week, InSight Crime launches an investigation – conducted with Brazilian think-tank the Igarapé Institute – on the sophisticated organized crime structures and armed groups that are intersecting in Colombia to find new opportunities in environmental crime, and driving deforestation and habitat loss in one of the world’s most biodiverse regions. The first chapter – set to be published Wednesday, September 1 – dissects the criminal economies propelling the country’s Amazon forests to be razed at a record rate. It also maps the networks involved in deforestation: from the locals clearing trees, to the armed groups that control critical territory, to the financiers and corrupt officials who facilitate the laundering of illegal timber or the use of denuded lands to raise cattle and sow large-scale agricultural projects. Additional chapters in the six-part series will be published every Wednesday over the next several weeks.

The investigation is part of a larger project by InSight Crime and Igarapé to build a comprehensive picture of environmental crimes – including illegal logging, mining, wildlife trafficking, coca cultivation and land grabbing – that propel the destruction of the Amazon. This project includes a dashboard that draws on data to flag threats to the Amazon in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. The dashboard will be regularly updated, and new investigations from the joint project will appear over the next year. 

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