The cultivation of coca (Erythroxylon coca) in Colombia represents the first step of the largest illegal agribusiness that exists in the world, namely Cocaine. In this production chain, the small local cultivators consists of the first step, followed by the step, where most of the money profit is made. This sphase correspond to the elaboration of cocaine and its commercialization at a global scale which is in the hands of illegal armed groups and drug dealers. Most of the literature related to illicit crops considers the national and global factors that influence the expansion of these products. However, only little is written in the scientific literature concerning the local conditions where the social-environmental impacts due to these activities are concentrated. This study analyses for the first time the local factors (social, economic, environmental and institutional) associated to the expansion of cocaine during the last decade and how these activities have provided the favourable settings for the increase of deforestation in zones of high environmental importance. For the proposed analysis a social-ecological conceptual framework was made, based on literature reviews which were confirmed by statistical analysis of data at a municipal level and the use of bivariate Local Indicators of Spatial Association (LISA) during the two year period of this study. This has allowed an improved comprehension of the complexity between the coca cultivations and its association with the emergence of social-environmental conflicts. It is shown that an relationship exists between deforestation of primary forest in low-laying areas and the increase of cultivated areas of coca with an intensification of land-use conflicts. This study demonstrates the environmental, institutional and social-economical resemblances that determine the establishment of coca cultivations at a local level and its relationship with increase of coca cultivations towards the north and southwest of Colombia and as such the expansion of the social-environmental conflicts.
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