SANTIAGO, (Tierramérica).- The Chilean government began the Santiago Forest project in April, a 180-hectare area in the nation's capital that will be home to native flora and fauna and serve as a recreation and environmental education area.
The forest is located in the Metropolitan Park, 720 hectares of which cover San Cristóbal hill and its surroundings. It is the largest natural space in this city of six million people.
Santiago has three square meters of green area per inhabitant. The forest will increase that ratio to 4.5 square meters per person, according to official figures.
A Turtle Saved
CARACAS, (Tierramérica).- A giant sea turtle, of the endangered species Dermochelys coriacea, was treated and returned to the ocean by specialists from the Venezuelan Environment Ministry after it was found injured earlier this month on the beach in the state of Vargas.
The turtle - a female measuring 2.26 meters long, 1.38 m wide, weighing 450 kilos, and estimated to be 35 years old - may have arrived at the beach to lay eggs, as the season begins in April, said the experts.
When it was found, the turtle had a head injury that required surgery. Following a rapid recovery, the animal was liberated at sea.
Sales of 'Environmental Services' Questioned
SAN JOSE, (Tierramérica).- The government's program for selling environmental services threatens Costa Rica's biodiversity and undermines its conservationist purposes, warns the Costa Rican Federation for Environmental Conservation (FECON), the country's leading environmental network.
The government program subsidizes the preservation of forests on private land, under which owners provide what is known as “environmental services”. The initiative allows selective logging and felling timber for research, under state supervision.
But ecologists say that the government is not fulfilling its monitoring role, so indiscriminate deforestation continues to occur. And this year the government will spend 1.2 million dollars of a World Bank loan to finance more projects of this type.
Organic Sugar Production Grows
HAVANA, (Tierramérica).- Cuba will place 5,000 to 7,000 tons of organic sugar on the international market this year. The product comes from sugarcane grown in soils treated with natural nutrients and without chemical pesticides.
The Carlos Baliño sugarmill, in the northern city of Santa Clara, 300 km from Havana, is the only one in the country that processes this type of sugar, which fetches higher prices than the non-organic product.
Improved farming techniques will allow organic sugar production to reach 13,000 tons annually in the next few years, say officials. Last year, 4,200 tons of this environmentally-friendly sweetener were sold to Denmark, Netherlands and Canada for more than 400 dollars a ton. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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