Monday, October 23, 2017

'Deforested Bones'

A skeletal bird made from wood represents deforestation's impacts.
Colombia's immense biodiversity is going fast, in great part because many creatures' forest habitats are disappearing.

A deforested danta.
And the National University's Natural History Museum's current exhibition dramatically exhibits that with sculptures of wild animals made from sticks, pieces of bark and charred wood gathered in deforested areas.

Peace with Colombia's various outlaw organizations was supposed to strengthen protection of the environment. Instead, deforestation has accelerated the last several years, to an incredible 20,000 hectares per hour, or 178,000 hectares per year - about double the entire land area of the Dutch Antilles. According to the museum, half of Colombia's high-altitude wetlands and its foothhill forests are gone, as are 90% of its tropical forests.

With the forests, go all the species living in them.

Deforestation is driven primarily by the expansion of agriculture, both legal and illegal, including cattle ranching. Every time a new road or pipeline is cut thru forest, observers watch the deforestation radiate out from the initial line.
A deforested jaguar.

The museum's exhibition, called Deforested Bones, includes messages warning against consumerism. However, our unbridled consumption of natural resources is only one cause of a complex phenomenon. Other parts are poverty that makes farmers desperate to feed their families, wealth which enables landowners to corrupt government officials, and twisted government policies which routinely give natural resource extraction priority over environmental conservation.

A deforested sloth.

A deforested spider monkey.
The natural history museum also has permanent exhibitions about anthropology, evolution, archaeology and Colombian wildlife.

A museum visitor sticks his hand into a crocodile's mouth.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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