Argentina puts legal muscle behind Atlantic Forest protection
The new land use law, approved earlier this month, will better protect more than 1.2 million hectares of Atlantic Forest in the province.
The decision follows a special ceremony at the XIIIth World Forestry Congress in 2009, where the province and the Paraguayan government agreed to work towards zero net deforestation in the Atlantic Forest, and to implement a package of measures that include legislation to enforce those commitments.
The Atlantic Forest initially spanned 500,000 square kms, shared between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. However, only 7.4 percent of the forest is left today – or about 35,000 square kilometers, making it one of the most threatened and fragment subtropical forests in the world.
The development of Misiones’ land use law began after the passage of a national law forcing provincial governments to stop deforestation until land use plans for native forests were established.
That 2007 law was passed with the backing of 1.6 million public supporters from a December 2007 petition, and with the active participation of WWF’s Argentina partner Fundacion Vida Silvestre.
Since the law’s approval, Vida Silvestre promoted citizen participation, organized discussion workshops, and developed materials for raise awareness about deforestation. In April 2010, Vida Silvestre presented a preliminary land use proposal plan to the Government of Misiones.
The resulting map of land use law in Misiones, officially sanctioned earlier this month, is similar to the proposal submitted by Vida Silvestre and establishes more than 1.2 million hectares under yellow (sustainable use forests) and red (protected areas).
The approved provincial law, also allows the province of Misiones the access to part of the money that the national law assigns for the compensation of forest ecosystem services (approximately USD$ S 200 million per year).