BUENOS AIRES, Dec 26 (Tierramérica).- Environmental organizations in Argentina have raised the alarm over the destruction of the forests of El Espinal in the northeastern province of Corrientes, due to serious flaws in the mapping of the region.
El Espinal is one of the three largest blocks of native forest in Corrientes, and has already lost 72 percent of its tree cover, while the remaining forest has suffered heavy degradation as a result of agricultural and livestock-raising activities in the surrounding area.
This month the government initiated the process to authorize the clearing of another 12,181 hectares, according to a report on the Native Forest Management Law of Corrientes.
Emilio Spataro, coordinator of the Save Iberá campaign, told Tierramérica that the deforestation constitutes "a crime against the natural heritage of the people of Corrientes."
Activists maintain that serious errors were made in the land survey required by the forest law, resulting in authorization for the clearing of a larger area than the estimated total area of the forest.
Overlooked Waste Recycled into Plastic Products
RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 26 (Tierramérica).- A technique developed by the Lorena School of Engineering at the University of São Paulo takes advantage of plastic wastes that are rarely recycled to produce plastic panels for automobiles, furniture and other uses.
The researchers utilized commonly found waste that is usually ignored by informal waste collectors, such as the plastic film used for food packaging and plastic bags.
"We added natural fibers from sugar cane bagasse. The result of this mix is a material that is more biodegradable than conventional plastic panels," professor Adilson Gonçalves, coordinator of the research, told Tierramérica.
"This type of plastic is rarely recycled and represents close to five percent of municipal solid waste, causing negative impacts on sanitary landfills, since it is not biodegradable and makes the soil impermeable," he added.
Joining Forces to Save the Zambuco Lagoon
TEGUCIGALPA, Dec 26 (Tierramérica).- Idyllic Zambuco Lagoon in the northern Honduran community of Esparta is being restored through a joint wetlands conservation project involving the government, civil society and local residents.
The lagoon was declared a protected area in 2010, leading to a community effort to save its mangrove forests, home to a wealth of endangered animal and plant species, conservationist Rafael Sambulá of the Honduran Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment told Tierramérica.
Species like the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) and the jabiru (Jabiru mycteria), a type of stork, inhabit this wetland area threatened by the expansion of cattle ranching, urbanization and industrial oil palm plantations.
The conservation efforts involve the participation of local communities and the non-governmental Organization for Community Ethnic Development. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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