Paraguay: soy and farming are destroying biodiversity

President Horacio Cartes approved a legislation that facilitates deforestation in said country

Paraguay: soy and farming are destroying biodiversity

Paraguayan environmentalist assured that the 7.702 presidential act signed by president Horacio Cartes facilitates the deforestation in said country. International organizations such as WWF expressed their concern towards Cartes' decision and assured that it opens the possibility to keep on eroding the land. According to experts, this legislation challenges the 42nd article of the 422/73 law that obliges citizens to preserve 25% of the local forests within every property.

Leo Rubín, a Paraguayan politician and environmentalist, said to the ABC media outlet that the normative approved by the president allows the native forest erosion to increase due to farming. The former vice-president candidate said that this will affect the biodiversity of the nation.

Meanwhile, the National Government insists that the new presidential act doesn't allow massive erosion. Rolando de Barros, the chief of the Environmental Secretary, assured to Radio 970 that "it only complements El Chacos environmental regulation (...) we only want to give value to the forests and protect the most vulnerable areas". The politician assured that "no one is going to affect El Chaco; we aim to protect natural resources".

However, the Paraguayan congress ordered the Executive branch to halt said law. The majority of the senators considered that "it is criminal to destroy the forests. We are looking to guarantee the right of living in a healthy and ecologic atmosphere".

According to the National Forest Institution, Paraguay deforests 200.000 hectares every year

Environmentalists are worried about the Chaco situation. The western region of Paraguay is full of soy plantations. Experts assured that it is due to the lack of regulations that prohibit massive deforestation. According to a report from Infona, National Forest Institution, in the past 6 years, the west of Paraguay lost almost 2 million hectares, 97% of it was legally deforested.

Esteban Aranda, president of the Itá Enramada organization explained to the Latin American Post that "Paraguay is divided in two big regions: El Chaco and the eastern region. El Chaco is extensive in size and doesn’t have a lot of natural irrigation. However, it has a lot of forest. But, there are problems that affect the region, such as farming. The policies are very permissive, and this is affecting local biodiversity. It allows destroying the forest to create pastures to feed animals".

WWF said that there is high risk that El Chaco will become a desert if the deforestation rate continues increasing. The international organization explained that the western region doesn't have an adequate regenerative process due to the lack of rain.


Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto