The Amazon

Giant water lilies (Victoria amazonica) in Bolivia's Moxos plains. Credit: Photostock

BOLIVIA: Rainforest Road Will Have Environmental and Cultural Impacts

A richly biodiverse rainforest the size of 3,000 soccer fields in central Bolivia will be the first victim of the road planned to run through the Isiboro Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park (TIPNIS), say environmental activists.

Riozinho do Anfrísio Extractive Reserve. Credit: Instituto Socioambiental

BRAZIL: Rainforest Defenders Marked for Death

Raimundo Francisco Belmiro dos Santos, a defender of the Amazon jungle, has requested urgent protection from the authorities in Brazil after reporting that a number of hired gunmen are looking for him, because landowners in the northern state of Pará have offered a 50,000 dollar contract for his death.

Caricature of President Evo Morales saying "More development, more roads!"  Credit: Subcentral Tipnis

BOLIVIA: Morales Clashes with Native Protesters over Road through Tropical Park

The lack of regulations for consulting indigenous communities in Bolivia on initiatives that affect their territories is at the heart of a dispute over a road to facilitate traffic from Brazil, which would run through an enormous tropical national park self-governed by indigenous communities.

Scale model of a small-scale Tecbio biodiesel plant.  Credit: Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

BRAZIL: Biofuel Production – Local Development or Social Breakdown?

Biofuels are an alternative energy source that can drive local development by generating jobs, know-how and technology. But they can also cause social damage, as locals fear in the case of industrial-scale exploitation of babassu palm trees, which grow abundantly in the wild in central and northern Brazil.

Eduardo Nayap  Credit: Congress of Peru

Q&A: Native Peruvians ‘More Marginalised Despite Growth’

For the first time, a representative of the indigenous communities in Peru's Amazonas region is sitting in Congress: Eduardo Nayap, an Awajún leader who played a central role in the lengthy protests against laws that opened up native territories in the rainforest to oil, mining and logging companies.

Colorful fall foliage of lenga trees (Nothofagus pumilio) in Cerro Catedral, Argentina.  Credit: Fernando López-Anido - Creative Commons License

New Scientific Network on Climate Change Adaptation

In Central America the temperature is rising and forests are taking longer to grow, while farther south, the Amazon rainforests have yet to feel the effects of global warming. This is just one example of how climate change is manifested differently in different parts of the region.

BOLIVIA: Amazon Road Plan Has Native People on the March Again

Indigenous people in the eastern lowlands of Bolivia are again preparing to make the long march to La Paz, 21 years after their first such protest. They have vowed to make the trek in defence of their lands, which they say are threatened by plans for a highway to be built with the backing of the Brazilian government.

Slash-and-burn clearing in the rainforest in the state of Acre, next to Amazonas.  Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

BRAZIL: Small-Scale Land Speculators Contribute to Amazon Deforestation

Many migrants from southern Brazil who clear forests in Brazil’s state of Amazonas are making their living as small-scale land speculators and not as farmers or as cattle ranchers, new research has found.

ECUADOR: Fate of Untapped Oil Hangs in the Balance – of Trust Fund

"Ecuador will not wait ad infinitum" for a decision by the international community, and "at the end of the year" President Rafael Correa will decide whether to extract oil that was to have been left underground at the Yasuní nature reserve, non-renewable natural resources minister Wilson Pástor has announced.

ECUADOR: Bishop Fasts for Reconciliation in Jungle Province

Catholic bishop emeritus Gonzalo López Marañón has been fasting since May 24 in a park in the Ecuadorian capital to call for peace and reconciliation in Sucumbíos, an Amazon province immersed in a conflict over the Vatican's decision to put the diocese in the hands of an ultra-conservative Catholic order.

BRAZIL: Activists Call for Stronger Action against Violence in Amazon

Organisations of small farmers and human rights groups are disappointed with the measures announced by the Brazilian government to address the problem of violence in the Amazon jungle region, after four environmental activists were murdered in less than a week.

ECUADOR: Gov’t Shuts Down Illegal Gold Mines

The Ecuadorian government sent in the army to shut down illegal gold mining operations in the jungles of the northwest province of Esmeraldas, where the highly polluting activity is associated with drug traffickers and protected by armed militias and hired killers.

José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espírito Santo, murdered Tuesday May 24 in Pará.  Credit: CNS Bélem

A Dark Day for Brazil’s Amazon Jungle

The same day that the lower house of the Brazilian Congress approved a reform of the forestry code that would make it easier to clear land in the Amazon jungle for agriculture, a husband and wife team of activists who spent years fighting illegal deforestation in the rainforest were murdered.

The town of Mutum-Paraná will soon disappear forever.  Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

BRAZIL: Amazon Dams Mean Progress for Some, Lost Livelihoods for Others

The Amazonian town of Mutum-Paraná, in the northern Brazilian state of Rondônia, is disappearing. Its last remaining buildings must be dismantled before it is flooded by the construction of the Jirau hydroelectric dam on the Madeira River.

ARGENTINA-PARAGUAY: Giant Dams Touted as Development

The Yacyretá hydroelectric dam run by Argentina and Paraguay is fully operational, supplying the energy it was designed to provide when it was built 40 years ago. But critics complain about severe social and environmental impacts.

BOLIVIA: Deforestation Devours Rich Ecosystems

Occupations of land for agriculture over the last four decades in Bolivia, whether by individuals or in organised collective initiatives, have led to severe ecological damages and low levels of productivity because of the intensive use of machinery and the failure to take into account the limitations of the soil, said environmentalist Marco Ribera.

Zenaide Pereira da Silva in front of the gantry crane she operates.  Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

BRAZIL: Women Break Down Barriers in Heavy Construction

They represent just seven percent of the workers building the Santo Antonio hydroelectric dam on the Madeira River, which cuts across the Amazon jungle in northwest Brazil. But the women workers total 1,200, and many of them have had to break down barriers to jobs seen as the preserve of men.

A solitary cow in a slash-and-burn clearing where there was once Amazon rainforest.  Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

BRAZIL: New Forest Code Could Hinder Climate Goals

The adoption of a new Forest Code in Brazil could threaten efforts to curb Amazon deforestation, which was reduced 70 percent between 2004 and 2010.

PERU: Native Birds Under Threat from Illegal Logging

Unique species of native birds live in the transition zone in Peru between the Andes mountains and the Amazon rainforest, where illegal deforestation is destroying their habitat.

Tree trunks cast up by the powerful Beni river at Cachuela Esperanza.  Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

BOLIVIA: The Boomerang Effect for Morales

It wasn't easy to get to the Bolivian city of Riberalta from Brazil. The adventurous journey included potholes on the Brazilian highway, a rickety boat that ferried us across the Mamoré - the border river - and an unnerving ride on a motorcycle taxi. But the biggest complication was the roadblocks.

Farmers from the Ojos de Agua Forest of the Future Association defend a 2,400-hectare area of forest.  Credit: Milagros Salazar/IPS

PERU: Guardians of the Dry Forest

Half-shouting over the roar of the old truck we are riding in, Peruvian farmer Pablo Escudero points to a green wall that rises up in the distance and says, "That’s our ‘rain caller’, the place we have fought so hard to create, which will be our legacy to our children."

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