, (Tierramérica).- The Chilean Supreme Court on Jan. 6 ordered the removal of the cellular telephone tower from the historic center of La Serena, a city 460 km north of Santiago. The ruling stated that the antenna is an environmental and architectonic offense.
The company Telefónica CTC Chile, based on Spanish capital, must remove the antenna and cover the costs of its relocation.
For the first time, Chile's highest court has issued a ruling on a case involving harm to the environment.
Telefónica made the curious decision to try "to disguise the antenna or dress it as a palm tree," states the decision.
Cranes at Center of Study
HAVANA, (Tierramérica).- Cuban scientists this year will study potential reproduction sites of the Cuban crane (Grus canadiensis nesiotes), considered endangered due to changes in its natural habitat.
The project is to be carried out in the north of Ciego de Avila province, 415 km from Havana, where the principal population of this subspecies of the Sandhill crane (Grus canadiensis) is found.
Experts say that economic development throughout the 20th century brought changes that in some cases favored the bird's food supply, but reduced the natural savannahs where it nests.
The Cuban crane builds its nest on the ground and lays one or two eggs. Recent counts in Ciego de Avila found 30 to 40 of these birds that stand more than a meter tall.
Land Handed Over to Indians
CARACAS, (Tierramérica).- Venezuelan Indians this year will receive land property titles for the first time, although the authorities have not determined which territories will be granted to each indigenous group.
José Poyo, of the National Indian Council of Venezuela, told Tierramérica that the issuance of property titles and the demarcation of territories will benefit the eight major indigenous groups in the country.
"It ensures the survival of the peoples and of their customs," he said.
Flor Luzardo, an Añú Indian, said, "We are in position of struggle and we will be until we achieve our objective, which is to obtain the collective property of our peoples."
The 28 indigenous groups in the country represent 1.25 percent of the 25 million people in Venezuela. Sixty-four percent live in the northwestern state of Zulia, and the rest in the south and east.
Protecting a Thorny Forest
GUATEMALA CITY, (Tierramérica).- A small forest populated with thorny plants was declared a protected area by the local Cabañas government in eastern Guatemala. The move is aimed at protecting endangered species.
Residents had requested the declaration, worried about some of the species of plants and animals that are in danger of extinction, Cabañas mayor Aflredo Vidal told Tierramérica.
The area, covering 7,432 square meters, is home to several species of cactus, prickly pear, acacia, Brazil and mimosa trees, as well as birds and reptiles, including the endangered Gila monster.
Sustainable Tourism Gets a Boost
SAN JOSE, (Tierramérica).- Twenty initiatives for rural tourism in Talamanca, in Costa Rica's southeastern highlands, this year are becoming pilot projects for sustainable tourism in Central America.
The projects are designed with hopes of obtaining the CST, certificate of sustainable tourism, based in Costa Rica but aimed at improving tourism practices throughout the region.
The endeavor includes training in clean technology, waste management, tourism administration and marketing, with support from the local Alliance for Forests and from the National Center for Cleaner Production.
The goal is to create sustainable environmental, social and economic initiatives that can be replicated in the region, says Denia del Valle, coordinator of the Mesoamerican tourism program of the Alliance for Forests.
RIO DE JANEIRO, (Tierramérica).- Biotechnology and specialized agronomy practices are contributing to the recovery of the cacao crop in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia, which until 1989 was the world leader in this raw material for chocolate.
To recuperate the cacao, experts cloned the resistant trees and grafted the clones to infected plants -- a measure promoted by the cacao commission of the Ministry of Agriculture.
This approach is accompanied by application of fungicides and fertilizer, biological controls, diversification of crops and reforestation.
In 1989, a fungal disease known as witch's broom began to destroy the cacao plantations, causing total losses for farmers and costing the local communities thousands of jobs.
Meanwhile, Brazil is collaborating in studies of "monilla", a disease present in Ecuador and Peru that is "worse than witch's broom," says Stela Midlej da Silva, a ministry researcher. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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