Irregular deforestation in headwaters of rio Paraguay threatens the Pantanal

Monday, September 3, 2012


Irregular deforestation in headwaters of rio Paraguay threatens the Pantanal


~photo Sergio Amaral of WWF-Brazil

Pointed to by environmentalists as the “water tower” of the Pantanal, the region of the headwaters of the Rio Paraguay, Mato Grosso, suffers there are 40 years a process of degradation that can be the target of the investigation. Ten days ago the Pantanero Institute (IHP) denounced the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) threat to the biome that remains as the most preserved of the country, with almost 85% of its area.

The report is Bruno Deiro and published by the newspaper O Estado de s. Paulo, 9/2/2012.

In a field study, the IHP proved the illegal deforestation in areas near the headboard in three flybys-the last of them held in mid-August. The effects of mineral extraction and the intensive use of soil for agriculture, even in places of Environmental protection area (APA), endanger the Paraguay river basin, central to the hydrology of wetland.
The complaint was received by MPF of Corumbá (MS), which examines what measures will be taken. According to the Prosecutor Mario Roberto Santos, arrangements will have to involve the MP of Mato Grosso do Sul State, which houses the headwaters of the watershed.
For Angelo Rabelo, of the Council of the IHP, emergency action would get an injunction to suspend all processes of deforestation in 50 thousand hectares that protect the headwaters of the rivers Paraguay, Cuiabá and Sepotuba. “These springs have impact on the renewal of plant life and wildlife of the Pantanal, because the balance of this biome is connected to this process of floods and droughts,” says R. “In 4 thousand hectares of the headwaters of the Rio Paraguay, for example, 90% of the natural vegetation was deleted for planting soybeans.”
Among the reasons for the degradation is the strength of agribusiness in the State and the lack of supervision. “We made a proposal for monitoring because today nobody has basic information flow and water quality of the area,” said Viviane Fonseca Moreira, biologist of the HDI. She states that the only clues are those obtained by aerial images.
According to biologist, conservation projects that the entity maintains for the Paraguay River in Mato Grosso do Sul can be harmed by the silting up of the headwaters. “Everything that happens there affects us. We have made an effort of conservation of 272 thousand hectares, but we don’t know if this was done in vain, “he says.
The headwaters of the Rio Paraguay, in four countries, is still in the region of the Cerrado. In overflying, was verified a pig farm on the banks of a city, as well as remnants of misuse of soil in areas that were formerly exploited by gold and diamond mines.
“The only part partially conserved is where there is an Indian reservation, the tribe umutina (located 150 km from Cuiabá),” said Viviane, one of 600 environmental experts who have signed a manifesto in support of the study.


Second Glauco Kimura, Coordinator of the program on water for life of WWF, the owners of land on the shores of springs in the region did not comply with the rule of the forest code to preserve at least 30 ft of riparian vegetation. With the amendment proposed by “ruralists”, which allow a recovery of up to 5 metres, the trend is that the problem from getting worse if there is supervision. “There is a lot of illegal deforestation and a deficit of protected areas. The only form of protection is the use of the soil well conducted, “says the expert.
At the beginning of the year, the WWF had already released the alert to publicize the ecological risk analysis of Paraguay river basin, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the Pantanal Research Centre. “It is the role of environmental agencies and prosecutors take attitudes. The MP of Mato Grosso, for example, has already advanced to download injunction that prohibits the installation of small hydropower plants without planning, “says Kimura.
Sought, the State Secretariat of Environment of Mato Grosso did not respond to interview requests.

Degradation of Taquari serves alert

In the extreme south of Mato Grosso, the example of the Taquari River is an evidence of the effects of the degradation of springs. Major erosions and the loss of hydrology in the region gave rise to the term “taquarização” to describe the process that threatens the Pantanal as a whole.
After years of misuse of soil in Alto Taquari, an area of 700 km of river was virtually buried by huge sand banks. “The Rio Taquari is undoubtedly an example of what can occur with the Pantanal. With compromised water table, sediments were blown away by the River, which was dying slowly, “says Gary Kimura, of the WWF.
The soil for the intensive livestock had high impact because of low technology used by local livestock producers, who do not have access to modern techniques of management. Using rudimentary modes, further weakened the soil already deficient in the region. This caused large scars called gullies-scientific term for the erosions that reach the water table.
The silting if extended to other points and undermined the flora and fauna around the Rio Taquari -riparian plantings were drowned and some fish species, restricted to reproduce. According to surveys, in a decade, the Taquari River fell from 485 tonnes to 62 tons the amount of fish. It is estimated that the total of flooded areas to reach 11 thousand square kilometers (more than 1 million hectares).
“The degradation of the Alto Taquari has intensified since the beginning of the Decade, but the River took 30 years to die. Other rivers may take longer for a better quality of soil, but this situation may repeat itself, “says Kimura. “The Pantanal is like a dish, because it is a flat region and low. But what happens on the edge reflects in the Center. So, at the bottom of the dish can be everything beautiful, but when you see the fountainheads, the situation is alarming. “


One thought on “Irregular deforestation in headwaters of rio Paraguay threatens the Pantanal

  1. Pingback: Irregular deforestation in headwaters of rio Paraguay threatens the ... | Paraguay |

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