RIO DE JANEIRO, May 2 (Tierramérica).- Environmental organisations have turned to an old enemy, toxic agrochemicals, as an extreme measure to combat invasive plant species that are threatening native flora in conservation areas.
One common case is that of Brachiaria, a species of grass used to feed livestock which hinders the growth of other plants. “Cutting it is not enough, because it always grows back,” explained Silvia Ziller, executive director of the Horus Institute, which is conducting studies with herbicides in protected areas in three Brazilian states.
Chemical weed killers are “a cheap, efficient alternative with a lesser environmental impact than the propagation of these species,” Ziller told Tierramérica.
The most recent of these experimental studies is being carried out in Emas National Park in the central state of Goiás. The measure has divided environmentalists, but the Brazilian environmental authority, IBAMA, has authorised research with toxic agrochemicals in native forests.
Forest Management Demanded to Prevent Fires
MEXICO CITY, May 2 (Tierramérica).- A non-governmental organisation is urging the Mexican government to promote sustainable forest management as a means of preventing serious forest fires.
“Forest fires happen because when forests aren’t managed properly there is an accumulation of biomass, which is the raw material for fires,” Iván Zúñiga of the Mexican Civic Council for Sustainable Silviculture told Tierramérica.
Since March, numerous forest fires have broken out in different regions of Mexico. The most serious, in the northern state of Coahuila, destroyed at least 249,000 hectares of forest, according to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.
This was the worst forest fire in Mexico’s history, followed by a fire in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo that destroyed 220,000 hectares in 1956 and a fire in the southern state of Oaxaca that wiped out 200,000 hectares in 1998.
Europe Offers Assistance to Protect Forests
TEGUCIGALPA, May 2 (Tierramérica).- The European Union has donated close to 31 million dollars to Honduras to strengthen the national institutions responsible for the preservation and management of forests, which have been hit by an upsurge in forest fires this year.
The aim is to strengthen the legal framework for the conservation of natural resources and in particular the commercialisation of timber, as well as promoting sustainable use of forests, said María Antonieta Guillén of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, through which the funds will be channelled.
Guillén told Tierramérica that this European assistance is a major boon for Honduras, which is facing an unprecedented wave of forest fires that have destroyed over 54,000 hectares of forests in recent months.
One of the immediate measures will be to reinforce the efforts undertaken by the Forest Conservation Institute, which until now has been unable to control the more than 4,000 forest fires reported so far this year. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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