Environmental problems in Paraguay
A forest giant brought to its knees
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 monoculturesFor 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 doneAlthough 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.
35% of the Atlantic Forest was lost in Paraguay between 1989 and 2003.