Paraguayan Chaco up for review
At a recent event, Guyra Paraguay (BirdLife in Paraguay), the Paraguay Secretary of the Environment (SEAM), the UN Development Program (UNDP), and the municipality of Bahía Negra launched the review of the Management Plan for the Chaco National Park.
The Chaco National Park was the first national park created in Paraguay and consists of 700,000 hectares of Dry Chaco eco-region. The Chaco ecosysytem is shared between Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina and is made up of mostly dry open forest, but is being degraded by conversion to arable farming and ranching. However, the risk to the Chaco is increasing. The latest satellite monitoring conducted by Guyra Paraguay in coordination with the SEAM shows that deforestation in the Chaco region of Paraguay, has increased from 500 to 728 hectares per day.
Oscar Rodas, Landscape Programme Coordinator at Guyra Parguay believes that to address this ongoing loss a simple zero deforestation law (which has been implemented in east Paraguay) is not the answer. "At this rate of destruction, the entire Paraguayan Chaco will be lost in 22 years. There needs be a more complex package of laws, which include both zero deforestation and environmental incentives to landowners."
"At this rate of destruction, the entire Paraguayan Chaco will be lost in 22 years" —Oscar Rodas, Guyra Paraguay
The event was organized by the SEAM and Guyra Paraguay, with the support of World Land Trust, and invited guests heard speeches from Dr Alberto Yanosky, Guyra Paraguay’s Executive Director, Dr Julio Acevedo, from the mayor’s office of Bahía Negra, Veronique Gerard from UNDP, Roberto Amarilla from SEAM, and Dr José Luís Casaccia, the Minister of the Environment.
A website for the management plan was unveiled and Dr Yanosky and Mr Amarilla emphasised the role of the indigenous Ayoreo people in the management plan. The Ayoreo community will retain all pre-existing rights and will have an active role in monitoring the implementation of the plan, providing feedback when possible, and will continue to utilise renewable natural resources.
Bird species found in the Chaco include, Crowned Eagle Harpyhaliaetus coronatus, Black-legged Seriema Chunga burmeisteri, Greater Rhea Rhea Americana, Many-coloured Chaco-finch Saltatricula multicolor, and Quebracho Crested-tinamou Eudromia formosa. With the support of World Land Trust, Guyra Paraguay and SEAM are working to preserve this wonderful national park in the heart of the Paraguayan Chaco, protecting those who rely upon its rich natural resources for survival and protecting the plants and animals that inhabit the area. Guyra Paraguay, in addition to biological and ecological monitoring, also offers sustainable nature tours to the area for those interested in contributing to conserving the park.
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