Latin America Forest News Updates — October 2011

LIMA, Peru (3 November, 2011)_Every month we are reviewing the most relevant news articles on forests and climate change in Latin America and the Amazon region. This month, indigenous groups protest the construction of Belo Monte dam in Brazil, the President of Bolivia cancels the construction of the Amazon highway and how gold miners are driving deforestation in Peru.

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Indigenous protest in NYC against construction of the Belo Monte Dam in Brazil. Photo courtesy of Amazon Watch/flickr.

LIMA, Peru (3 November, 2011)_Every month we are reviewing the most relevant news articles on forests and climate change in Latin America and the Amazon region. Latin America news digests are compiled by Gabriela Ramirez GalindoRegional Communications Officer for CIFOR’s Latin America office.

  • Hundreds of indigenous Brazilians have protested against the construction of Belo Monte dam, however the Brazilian government boycotted a meeting in Washington D.C. between indigenous leaders, members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and representatives from the government, reported Indian Country.The construction of the dam in Para, Brazil will replace 516 square kilometer of forests and will displace around 50 thousand people living along the Xingu river, tributary of the Amazon. Indigenous people and other residents living in the area say the hydroelectric project is already affecting the daily life of the villages.
    Back in April, the Organization of American States criticized the 11,000 megawatt project and last month a Brazilian judge declared it unconstitutional due to its impact on indigenous communities and their land. The Belo Monte dam is expected to become the third biggest dam in the world, after Three Gorges in China and Itaipu in the limits between Brasil and Paraguay.


  • The President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, has cancelled the construction of the Amazon highway which was planned to cross through the Isiboro Sécure Indigenous territory and National Park (Tipnis) in the Amazon region, reported the Wall Street Journal (in Spanish).Indigenous leaders opposed the highway’s construction, saying that it would increase deforestation and the presence of drug groups in the area, ruining indigenous livelihoods. Over the past two months hundreds of indigenous people who opposed to the project, walked 500 kilometers from the Amazon forest towards the nation’s capital to demand a complete stop to the project.


  • Activist Joao Chupel Primo who was a staunch opponent of illegal logging was killed in Para, Brazil at the age of 55 reported AFP and Mongabay. In the Brazilian Amazon such tenure conflicts are common, especially as the increased value of forest commodities leads to land grabbing. Between May and August seven activists denouncing illegal logging have been killed in Para and Rondonia States said Univision.


  • In Peru, deforestation is spreading along the Amazon region and is being driven by gold miners who are extracting the mineral often without fulfilling environmental requirements, reported Mongabay. The rate of deforestation has increased six-fold in gold mining areas and, with the dredging of Amazonian lowlands and rivers in the foothills of the Andean region, is endangering the plans of the country to benefit from REDD+ schemes. Gold mining has become is a very profitable activity and it is estimated that 200 migrants per day arrive to the Madre de Dios region from all over Peru.


  • In Panama, during a preparatory meeting for the UN Climate Summit to be held next month in South Africa, the countries of Central American demanded to be considered as one of the most vulnerable regions affected by climate change. Government representatives said that an international acknowledgement would help the international community to allocate resources for mitigation and adaptation activities to be carried out in their countries, reported EFE.  According to their representatives, the countries of Central America are responsible for less than 0.5% of global emissions but are already suffering the consequences of a changing climate.
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