Bolivia Chaco

Deforestation in Bolivia’s Chaco Region

Deforestation in Bolivia’s Chaco Region

The Chaco mourns the loss of 8,349 hectares of forest due to uncontrolled deforestation

Ricardo Zárate, a regional assembly member of Chuquisaca, has raised alarms regarding a massive deforestation that is affecting the ecological landscape of the Chaco, reports Erbol.

According to Zárate’s revelations, a total area of 8,349 hectares has been devastated in the Chaco municipality of Macharetí, which belongs to the Luis Calvo province of Chuquisaca.

What is most alarming is that this “uncontrolled destruction has been authorized by the Forest and Land Authority (ABT) of Tarija and Santa Cruz,” located in other departments, revealing a lack of coordination and control in the preservation of our valuable forests, he explained.

Zárate reported that the ABT of Tarija allowed the deforestation of 4,200 hectares in Villamontes, and, to worsen the situation, over 4,000 additional hectares have been processed in the department of Santa Cruz.

“These irresponsible actions have led to the disappearance of centuries-old trees,” turning areas that were once vital for attracting rainfall in the region into arid deserts,” said Zárate.

The assembly member denounced “the involvement of foreign individuals in this devastation,” who have left an unparalleled trail of destruction. It is estimated that between six and seven bulldozers have worked tirelessly to ravage the natural wealth of the Chaco. A report on deforestation by La Jornada investigates foreign companies investing in the region.

Zárate emphasized the severity of the situation by stating that “the recovery of what has been felled will take decades, if not more.”

To put the damage into perspective, he compared this loss to familiar areas: “equivalent to ten times the concentrated area of Camiri, sixteen times the concentrated area of Monteagudo, and seventy times the area of Macharetí.”

Furthermore, the assembly member revealed the shocking reality of fines imposed for illegal deforestation.

Zárate disclosed that the offenders “only have to pay 20 cents per illegally felled hectare.” This insignificant penalty incentivizes the irrational exploitation of our natural resources, leaving a bleak future for the communities that depend on nature for survival, reported Erbol.

The expansion of agricultural frontiers is reshaping the economic and environmental aspects of people’s lives.

The advancement of agriculture has brought about profound changes in the lives of rural farmers and indigenous communities, transforming what was once a predominantly pastoral and subsistence farming region into an extensive mechanized agricultural zone.

The arrival of entrepreneurs to the community and neighboring areas, initially to observe, then to lease lands for rice and soybean cultivation, has led to land shortages. Consequently, they have expanded into other communities, resulting in the majority of the rural farmers leaving the Chaco region. These economic shifts have compelled them to work as laborers for these entrepreneurs, as reported by Los Tiempos.


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