Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Economic development in Latin America shouldn't prevail on the protection of its unique environment

While the United States and various European Union Member States suffer the financial crisis related to the management of the government debts, some Latin American countries are registering good growth rates.
Unfortunately, new projects are menacing the uniqueness of national and regional ecosystems in the continent.

World Economic Growth  - CIA Factbook 2011
The construction of infrastructures like highways and bridges threaten the environment stability. In a previous post I talked about the new projects that could menace the ecosystem in the Gran Cacho region. A similar situation is undergoing in the Pantanal. The Pantanal is a huge wilderness region of swamps, lagoons, ponds and marshes. These wetlands are fed by the seasonal flooding of the river Paraguai and its many tributaries located in southwestern Brazil and portions of eastern Bolivia and northern Paraguay. The Pantanal and its diverse environment and eco-regions attract visitors who come for the scenery and wildlife. the plan to develop the Hidrovía Paraná-Paraguay project which would transform the "Paraguay-Paraná-Uruguay-La Plata river system into a 3,400-kilometer long shipping canal." risk to dismantle the fragile stability of the local ecosystem.
The question for the nations of the Pantanal is how to balance the inevitable growth of the region with the need to conserve and protect the environment. The creation of the small Parque Nacional do Pantanal Matogrossense is a step in the right direction, but more help is needed from the private sector in creating natural preserves on privately owned lands, and from neighboring countries.Some of the other threats to the Pantanal and its environment are illegal fishing and overfishing, poaching and illegal traffic in wildlife species, water contamination, soil erosion and sedimentation of the river systems.

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