TOWARD ZERO NET DEFORESTATION



Posted on 20 November 2008  | 
Asunción, Paraguay—Today, November 20, 2008, by a unanimous vote the Congress of Paraguay has extended the “Zero Deforestation Law”, law number 3139/06.  Three commissions—Energy and Natural Resources, Agrarian Reform, and the Legislature Commission of the Senate—gave strong presentations supporting extension of the law, including the degree of devastation of the Atlantic Forest, the lack of land use planning, the benefits that the region is losing with deforestation (biodiversity loss, siltation of water courses, pollution of the Guarani Aquifer, destruction of ancestral cultures, and the disappearance of family farms, among others).  They also gave emphasis to the great importance of maintaining what is left of this much threatened eco-region because of the danger in losing every thing, because deforestation can at a certain point become irreversible.

Until 2004 Paraguay registered the highest deforestation rate in the Americas and second in the world.  Nearly 7 million hectares of Atlantic Forest was lost to slash-and-burn for agricultural and ranching use in close to four decades. This changed rapidly with the Land Conversion Moratorium for the Atlantic Forest of Paraguay, also called the “Zero Deforestation Law”.  However, this law was scheduled to expire in December 2008 if the Legislature of Paraguay did not extend it.  Decades of deforestation and devastation cannot be recovered in just four years of moratorium. 

One of the main focuses of the senate discussion was also how deforestation and degradation influence climatic changes and how much this changes can affect the agricultural and livestock production of the region. Moreover, in the accumulated deforestation that occurred during the last four decades Paraguay has lost much of its important timber production, and in fact is becoming a wood importer.

The Senate also acknowledged the success of reducing the deforestation by close to 90% in just four years of moratorium, and the great support of National and International Organizations in providing assistance for the monitoring of the implementation of this legislation. 

Once again the Government of Paraguay has honored its commitment made at the CBD COP9 (in  Bonn, Germany) and in the World Congress of the IUCN (in Barcelona, Spain),  to support WWF in its initiative of “Zero Net Deforestation by 2020”, and has extended the Zero Deforestation Law for five more years. The Minister of the Environment has expressed his satisfaction in the approval by Congress of this important law and has committed to work toward the inclusion of other regions of the country, such as the Chaco and Pantanal in this Land Conversion Moratorium legislation. 

However there is much to be done: the WWF network is working with the Government of Paraguay and local NGOs to implement financial and legal mechanisms such as Payments for Environmental Services (PES) and the Program of Conformance with the Forest Legislation (CFL), to truly achieve a Zero Net Deforestation in the Atlantic Forest in Paraguay.

The WWF local and global teams working together are making a difference in this very threatened eco-region.
Frente al Congreso con los voluntarios
Frente al Congreso la Directora Lucy Aquino, y voluntarios, con espectativa para la renovación de la Ley.
© Francisco Pereira WWF Paraguay Enlarge
Todos dentro del senado para escuchar la decision positiva del Senado
Momento despues de la decisión del Senado para la Renovación de la Ley de Deforestación Cero por 5 años
© WWF Paraguay Enlarge

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