Colombia lost 219,973 hectares of natural forests in 2017, 23 percent more than in 2016 and the largest deforestation in almost two decades, as a result of logging, illegal mining, extensive cattle ranching and increased of illicit crops, a government report revealed on Friday.
The area deforested in 2016 was 178,597 hectares.
According to the study of the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) last year, Colombia had more than 59.3 million hectares of natural forest, representing 52 percent of the country's continental and insular surface.
The area most affected by deforestation was the Amazon, followed by the central Andean region, the report said.
"In only 7 Amazonian municipalities, almost half of the country's forest loss is concentrated (49.1 percent), all of them showed an increase in the deforested area of more than 100 percent compared to what was detected in 2016", the study revealed.
The loss of forests in the South American country continues despite official education campaigns to prevent logging.