In DepthLATIN AMERICA

Colombia peace deal blow dismays ecologists

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Science  21 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6310, pp. 271
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6310.271

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Summary

For decades, Colombia's most interesting and diverse ecosystems have been occupied by guerrilla fighters and other armed groups, forcing scientists to stay away. But for a hopeful week, the threat finally seemed to have lifted. On 26 September, Colombia's government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia signed an agreement ending 52 years of conflict. As the fighters pledged to lay down their weapons, scientists made plans to return to the field—sometimes to research stations they had been forced to abandon years earlier. But on 2 October, Colombians in a referendum narrowly rejected the peace accord, leaving researchers wondering when it will truly be safe for fieldwork, and whether Colombia will ever be able to direct its resources away from war and toward research.