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Physical Landscapes

One of Colombia’s primary environmental concerns is deforestation. According to a 2003 United Nations study, Colombia loses approximately 775 square miles (2,000 square kilometers) of land each year to such activities as ­small-­scale agriculture and logging. Pictured here is a Colombian rainforest that has been cleared for ­farming.

parts of the Andes, Chocó, and southern Oriente, but they are shrinking. Certain slopes and valleys facing the northeast trade winds still have patches of this forest, even in the heavily popu-­ lated areas of the ­Andes. Savannas (tropical grasslands) grow in subhumid parts of the tierra caliente, such as the northern Oriente and Caribbean lowlands. These grasslands are one of nature’s responses to tropical climates that have a ­wet-­and-­dry annual rainfall pat-­ tern. During the wet season, the grasses grow tall (waist high in many areas) and form a thick, protective layer over the soil. During the dry season, the grasses dry out. For thousands of



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