Around 2.2 million hectares (5.4 million acres) of important habitat were destroyed, largely for farms and cattle ranches.
At the beginning of the 21st century, around 40 percent of the country was still covered by primary forests. Estimates vary, but deforestation is thought to claim up to 50,000 hectares (123,500 acres) of forest a year in Panama — a loss of slightly more than one percent per year.
This awareness of environmental issues will have a huge impact on the country’s future.
In the second half of the 20th century, Panama saw almost half of its remaining primary forests wiped out.
In modern times, Panama trying to balance economic development with environmental protection.
Sadly, the Panamanian government can do a poor job protecting the natural areas, and watchdog agencies often lack real power to do anything about it.
Panama’s land coverage is also 78 percent mountainous, which makes the soil erode quickly.
This soil is generally low quality anyway, as most of the nutrients found in tropical forests are within the trees themselves.
Panamanians are beginning to realize the tremendous importance of their forests, coasts and rivers.While poor subsistence farmers cut down many forests, commercial interests — including coffee, banana and sugarcane operations — have done substantial damage.The Panamanian government also continues to allow mining operations and hydroelectric projects into environmentally sensitive areas.At the start of the 21st century, a total of 46,000 hectares (114,00 acres) of land had been reforested.This is less than is lost annually to deforestation.