RIO DE JANEIRO, (Tierramérica).- The world's knowledge of the Amazon and its role in the global climate will expand Jul. 27-29 as a result of the 3rd conference of the Large-scale Biosphere Atmosphere (LBA) Experiment in the Amazon, the biggest international cooperation program for environmental studies.
More than 700 studies signed by 800 scientists from 170 institutions from Brazil, other Amazon countries, United States and Europe will be presented at the meeting in Brasilia.
The LBA, begun in 1998 through a Brazilian initiative, brings the scientists together every two years and is slated to conclude its work in 2006.
The studies already published show that the Amazon forests serve as ''carbon sinks'', fixing carbon from the atmosphere, and that deforestation has reduced rainfall and altered the climate in the region and in other places around the world.
The Amazon is a mosaic of non-uniform forests, where trees grow and die three times faster in the western region than in the east.
Saving the Beach Where Columbus Stepped
HAVANA, (Tierramérica).- Cuban scientists were able to halt coastal erosion in parts of Bariay Key, in the eastern province of Holguín, whose sands were the first that Christopher Columbus stepped on when he reached the island more than 500 years ago.
The conservation program is the work of experts from the coastal investment unit of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, to protect Cuba's northeastern shoreline.
The unit, created in 1999, has spent five million dollars on programs to protect coastal ecosystems from natural phenomena, like erosion, and from the impacts of human activities.
Located 800 km from Havana, Holguín province is the Caribbean island's third leading tourist destination.
Fisherfolk Take Water in Own Hands
CARACAS, (Tierramérica).- On the arid Venezuelan peninsula of Paraguaná, 288 residents of La Sabaneta fishing community decided to take the matter of potable water into their own hands, organizing a cooperative that will install several kilometers of water pipeline.
Tired of waiting for the irregular deliveries of water in tanker trucks, ''we decided to set up a project four years ago to manage water ourselves. It has taken some time, but we are now ready to install the pipeline,'' Elba Martínez, a member of the community, told Tierramérica on a recent visit to Caracas.
According to official figures, there are 100 water management cooperatives in the country, with around 3,000 members, distributing water in small rural and suburban communities.
The national government provides materials and technical support for installing and repairing the systems.
'March for Life' a Success
TEGUCIGALPA, (Tierramérica).- More than 30,000 people took part in the ''March for Life'' across Honduras, arriving in the capital from all parts of the country on Jun. 30 to demand measures to protect the environment, defying a ban by the government.
The military followed the seven-day march with helicopters and tanks, but the demonstrators, led by Roman Catholic priest Andrés Tamayo, received public support along their route, with local residents providing water, food and lodging.
President Ricardo Maduro met with Tamayo on July 1, and they agreed to designate a special high-level commission to attend to the problem of protecting natural resources.
Tamayo told Tierramérica, ''This is a good sign, and indicates that the march for life is just beginning.''
Also taking part in the march were senators, business leaders and humanitarian activists. *Source: Inter Press Service.
up for Tierramerica's free weekly newsletter!