Environmental problems in Paraguay

Port on the Paraguay river for soybeans loading, Pantanal. Brazil. rel=
Port on the Paraguay river for soybeans loading, Pantanal. Brazil.
© WWF-Canon / Juan PRATGINESTOS

A forest giant brought to its knees

The Atlantic Forest is a shadow of its former self. Originally covering more than 386,000 sq. miles along Brazil's coast, extending into eastern Paraguay and northeastern Argentina, today less than 10% of that cover remains in the wake of centuries of forest clearing for agriculture and urban development.

Some of the largest forest remnants of the Atlantic Forest are found in the Upper Parana River watershed in Argentina and Paraguay. These remnants are still large enough to provide habitat for top predators such as the jaguar and the harpy eagle, as well as large herbivores like the South American tapir, deer, and peccaries.

From bountiful forests to monocultures

For many years, the Upper Parana Atlantic Forest in Paraguay had one of the highest rate of deforestation in Latin America. The forests continue to be transformed into agricultural land without adequate planning.

Ranching and agriculture have already invaded extremely fragile forest land, which due to the property of its soil, is only suitable for forest regrowth. Although very degraded and fragmented, these forests are still significant for conservation, particularly in restoring green corridors.

According to a recent analysis from the Global Land Cover Facility of the University of Maryland, NASA, and the organisation Guyra Paraguay, 35% of the Atlantic Forest was lost in Paraguay between 1989 and 2003.

Laudable conservation efforts, but still more needs to be done

Although the government has controlled deforestation to a certain extent, more needs to be done for responsible soy cultivation and sustainable forest management. A stronger commitment is also needed to restore priority forest areas.

Moreover, while there are a number of protected areas in the Atlantic Forest, the majority are reserves in name only. In practice, there is not enough financing for their adequate protection.
 / ©: WWF
What is WWF doing about the problems?
© WWF

35% of the Atlantic Forest was lost in Paraguay between 1989 and 2003.

Global Land Cover Facility of the University of Maryland / NASA / Guyra Paraguay

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