The Tragic Deforestation of the The Paraguayan Chaco

A study released by the digital portal of the international eco Rolling Stone, complaint the deplorable conditions in which is currently the Paraguayan Chaco, by the high rate of deforestation currently experiencing this part of the country.

The Gran Chaco, which cuts across parts of Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil, is Latin America’s second most important forest, behind only the Amazon in terms of size and biodiversity.

While the Amazon is a lush tropical world of wide rivers and towering trees, the Chaco, located to the south, is a dry 250,000-square-mile area with some of the highest temperatures in the world and some of the most meager rainfall.

Paraguay suffered a deforestation of 45,229 hectares of woodlands that was converted to agricultural use in June 2014, with 72% of the total deforested area, followed by Argentina with 23% and Bolivia with 2%.

In the specific case of Paraguay, the rate of deforestation was 1,080 hectares per day, compared with 345 hectares per day for Argentina, and 83 hectares per day for Bolivia.

In Paraguay deforestation was observed in areas within the Protected Area of the Médanos del Chaco National Park as well as in adjacent areas bordering the park.

During the first six months of this year, 1,040 acres — a little more than 1.6 square miles of forest a day — were bulldozed and burned in the Paraguayan portion of the Chaco.

Guyra Paraguay, a local NGO working on the protection of the biodiversity, has been monitoring the deforestation of the main eco-regions in Paraguay. Their findings are sufficiently dramatic to shock to the most apathetic observer.

Their calculations indicate that the minimum estimated rate of deforestation is between 200,000 and 300,000 hectares per year.

Recently, The University of Maryland also released a comprehensive global deforestation map highlighting the alarming trend of forest’s loss in tropical regions, the study reports that “Paraguay’s Chaco woodlands …are experiencing rapid deforestation in the development of cattle ranches. The result is the highest rate of deforestation in the world.”

Gustavo Carrasquel | ANCA24

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