Americas
17 Nov 2017

Guyra Paraguay celebrates 20 years of science and conservation

This Monday November 20th, BirdLife’s Partner in Paraguay celebrates 20 years working for biodiversity with a great concert by Maestro Luis Szarán and the Asunción Philharmonic in the auditorium of the Central Bank of Paraguay.

The Toco Toucan is one of numerous bird species benefiting from Guyra Paraguay's conservation © Shutterstock
The Toco Toucan is one of numerous bird species benefiting from Guyra Paraguay's conservation © Shutterstock
By Guyra Paraguay

The organization Guyra Paraguay was born two decades ago, to fill a large gap in conservation and research on birds and biodiversity. With a well-known track record nationally and internationally, it is a non-profit institution that works on the defense and protection of biological diversity and organized actions by the community. The organization bases its actions on research and conservation, so that future generations can experience the natural wealth of Paraguay.

Since its creation in 1977 the Association Guyra Paraguay has taken more than 600 conservation actions for biodiversity and sustainable development both in and outside of Paraguay. To celebrate these 20 years we highlight the 20 most important actions by the organization:

 

1. In 2004, with the support of all of civil society, the Bare-throated bellbird (Procnias nudicollis) was forever declared “National Bird” of Paraguay in the Paraguayan National Congress.

 

2. Commitments have been made with more than 200 leaders, training and supporting them as conservation groups, such as the Eco Pantanal Paraguayo and Bahía Negra Poty community radio; the Koe Tuwy colony in the Mbaracayú Forest Biosphere Reserve, the San Rafael Environmental Advocates, Eco-Ayolas, and some local bird-watching groups.

 

3. Since the creation of Guyra Paraguay, more than 500 young professionals in the conservation sector have been trained, who now occupy prominent positions in national and foreign institutions. The first female biologist Minister of the Environment Secretariat of Paraguay came from our institution.

 

4. In 2007, Guyra Paraguay was awarded as one of the “Protagonists of Hope” institutions for our conservation and development actions over more than 10 years, by the Newspaper Última Hora. Guyra is also the only national organization that has been awarded the Conservation Leadership Award in Latin America and the Caribbean by National Geographic, the order of merit in the Degree of Commander by the Republic of Paraguay, and the “Wings of the Americas” Award that highlights international development by the U.S. government.

 

The Bare-throated Bellbird is now the National Bird of Paraguay © Ben Tavener

 

5. Guyra Paraguay has covered every corner of the national territory obtaining scientific information in more than 750 sites, with more than 140,000 new records, for the 1,540 vertebrate species documented in Paraguay. 950,000 kilometers have been traveled throughout Paraguay, equivalent to 24 times around the Earth or 2.5 visits to the moon.

 

6. So far we have acquired 41,452 hectares of land in various ecoregions of the country to conserve them in perpetuity. Through our two reserves open to the public, the Kangüery Station and the Los Tres Gigantes Station of the conservation units, jobs are generated for local peoples, with a current staff of 15 reserve rangers.

 

7. Three properties have been purchased under a socio-environmental agreement with two Indigenous Groups (Mbyá in Itapúa and Ishir in Bahía Negra), and so we have joined forces to conserve biodiversity and recognize the ancestral rights of indigenous peoples to the territory, with a total of 4,548 hectares. These co-stewardship agreements reclaim ancestral indigenous territory that protects ecosystem function, goods and services.

 

8. Guyra Paraguay jointly with the U.S. Geological Survey led the definition of ecosystems of Paraguay and the related gap analysis, in addition to initiating the identification of the ecosystems of Paraguay.

 

9. 57 Important Areas for the Conservation of Birds (IBAs)  that are recognized on a global level, are now nominated to be among the first KBAs (Key Biodiversity conservation Areas)

 

10. Studies are conducted on the 720 species of birds in our country, of which 80 are threatened at the national level, and we protect 500 of them in Guyra Paraguay Reserves.

 

11. More than 20 books have been published about the biodiversity of Paraguay and conservation, among other the first “Paraguay Bird Guide”.

 

12. Since 2006, land use change and deforestation of the Paraguayan Chaco and the Gran Chaco are being evaluated, measuring deforestation rates of around 1,000 ha/day. This monitoring of the land use changes in the whole country’s territory alerts us of the threats that can make the ecosystem disappear and has been key for the detection of illegal activities with public Protected Areas.

 

Gran Chaco is being closely monitored for deforestation activity © Ilosuna

 

13. Guyra Paraguay works with more than 100 small farmers, producing more than 500 metric tons of organic material and generated at least an additional 20% on the price of the product. In addition, more than 100 farms have been restored incorporating trees for the use of campesino families and biodiversity.

 

14. The San Rafael – Tekoha Guasu Reserve is preventing the emission of more than 4 million metric tons of CO2 to the atmosphere that would have contributed to climate change, and we have planted more than 50,000 native trees using local resources to restore the forest in our reserve areas.

 

15. 500 hectares in San Rafael have been donated so that the Paraguayan Government can establish it as a National Park, a pending achievement since 1992.

 

16. Support for the protection of a million hectares (1,000,000 ha) in the Upper Chaco, which constitutes habitat for the large South American vertebrates, like the jaguar, tapir, giant otter, guanaco, chacoan peccary and giant armadillo.

 

17. The first to build local capacity on climate change through projects linked with rural development and forest conservation, and together with 11 other partners the first Regional Climate Change Strategy was created for BirdLife International in the Americas.

 

18. Leadership of the first carbon sequestration project with funding from the voluntary market, with “Gold level” authentication for its certifications; five of the project’s 30-year execution have already been implemented.

 

19. 139 hectares of the Caazapá National Park buffer zone have been reforested under agroforestry systems and sustainable development, benefitting 204 families; the buffer zone of the San Rafael-Tekoha Guasu Reserve, reforested with 70,000 native species plants and 120,000 yerba mate seedlings equivalent to 40 hectares; and Colonia de la Amistad with 49.5 hectares, with 79,900 plants that increase the forest cover on the properties of 33 campesino families.

 

20. Guyra Paraguay has invested more than 15 million dollars in conservation in Paraguay in the last 20 years.

 

A very nice way to celebrate these 20 years of success will be with the “Birds in the Music of Paraguay” Concert, on Monday November 20th. During the event, Guyra Paraguay will also present the National Biodiversity Communication Award.

 

 

For more information contact Guyra by email, guyra.paraguay@guyra.org.py or by telephone: 021 229097 / 234404 o 0984 759534