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Accepted Contribution:

Encountering deforestation: data infrastructures and peasant futures in the Colombian Amazon  
Claudia Grisales (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

Short abstract:

I explore the circulation of deforestation data among rural communities in an active deforestation hotspot in the Colombian Amazon. I follow deforestation data through the sites where it is encountered by peasant organizations and describe its becoming in state and peasant’s political imagination.

Long abstract:

Deforestation data has been a key driver of environmental policy in Colombia since 2016. That year, deforestation rates rose dramatically after guerrilla rebels that exercised de facto forest control demobilized. In this post-conflict scenario, the Colombian government began implementing climate mitigation mechanisms funded by countries of the Global North. These mechanisms provide payments to counties in the Global South for verified emission reductions from deforestation prevention. However, their efficacy, as well as their effects in complex conflictive scenarios in the Global South require careful investigation.

Remote-sensing forest and carbon monitoring systems included in such initiatives have turned Colombia’s frontier areas into deforestation hotspots. In these lands, environmental policies meet complex socioenvironmental conditions shaped by historical inequalities and struggles. The subject of this paper is how deforestation data and information infrastructures are encountered and appropriated by grassroots peasant communities whose permanence in the ecologically strategic Amazon region is at stake.

By following deforestation data in the recent struggles of a grassroots peasant organization in Colombia, I look at the way deforestation data and infrastructures participate in the way contested categories like “peasant” and “conservation” are shaped. I also investigate the political imaginations at play in these struggles and the notions of just futures emerging from them. The paper uses ethnographic data collected through involved observation in the department of Guaviare, Colombia in 2023.

Combined Format Open Panel P180
Knowledge, networks, power: climate infrastructures in the Global South
  Session 2 Tuesday 16 July, 2024, -