Brazil’s Pantanal Wetlands Doomed to Disappear in a Few Decades

The growth of farming and cattle ranching in western Brazil could destroy the world’s largest freshwater wetlands by 2050, researchers said Wednesday.

Farming has already wiped out nearly 45 percent of the original vegetation in the Paraguay River Basin, which includes the 145,000-square-kilometer (56,000-square-mile) Pantanal wetlands, according to a new study by Conservation International-Brazil.

While most of the destruction is outside the Pantanal, the wetlands have lost 17 percent of their original vegetation, degrading soil and altering the flood plain’s dry and wet cycles, which help sustain the region’s rich biodiversity, the study said.

"It is extremely important to conserve the areas surrounding the Pantanal lowlands because they are the headwaters of the rivers that make up the Pantanal," said Sandro Menezes, manager of the conservation group’s Pantanal program.

The report said that if the destruction continues at its current rate, the Pantanal’s native plant life could be wiped out in 45 years.

Scientists say the Pantanal, which sprawls across the midwestern states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul and part of neighboring Bolivia, is home to some 650 bird species, 230 fish species, 80 varieties of mammals and more than 1,000 kinds of butterflies.

Conservation International said Brazil must take urgent action to protect the Pantanal, including increased regulation of land use and better coordination of conservation efforts by government authorities.

State governments have proposed to develop the region by dredging the Paraguay River to open shipping lanes or by building power plants.

In November, environmentalist Francisco Anselmo de Barros, 65, set himself on fire and died protesting plans to build a sugarcane alcohol plant in Mato Grosso do Sul. After his suicide, the state legislature shelved the proposal.

Pravda – www.pravda.ru

Tags:

You May Also Like

The Impact of Napoleon on Cardoso’s Thinking and Brazilian History

{mosimage}In 1807, Napoleon Bonaparte and his minions invaded the Iberian Peninsula.  The Peninsular War, ...

Brazil’s FGV Joins University of California to Offer Free Online Course

Brazil's Fundação Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV) has partnered with UC Irvine Extension, the continuing ...

Brazilian House Files Motion to Sack Its Speaker

The president of the Council of Ethics and Parliamentary Decorum of the Brazilian House ...

Brazil Has a Plan to Cut Deforestation by 70% in a Decade

The Brazilian government has just announced a plan to cut destruction of its Amazon ...

Payback Time in Brazil: Friends Get Cabinet Post

March 15th was the 20th anniversary of Brazil’s latest experiment with democracy. For the ...

Good Prospects for Brazil Don’t Prevent Market Fall

Latin American stocks slumped again this Wednesday, March 8, amid ongoing concerns over rising ...

Reports in Brazil Show President Sicker than Medical Bulletins Would Like Us to Believe

Dilma Rousseff, the president of Brazil, following recovery from the bronchial pneumonia she was ...

Brazil Should Not Fear Fed Chief’s Comments, Says Lula

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said on Friday, May 26, that the ...

Air Traffic Grows 13% in Brazil

Air traffic continues its expansion in Brazil. According to data released by the National ...

Lula Shows the UN a Rosy Picture of Brazil Where Hunger Is on Its Way Out

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva affirmed today that Brazil is engaged in ...