BUENOS AIRES, Jun 4 (Tierramérica).- Architects from Argentina have designed bricks for housing construction made from the huge amounts of ash that fell in the southern part of the country a year ago following the eruption of the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano chain in Chile.
The bricks can be used “for enclosures, partitions, and with a few improvements, they could even support the weight of a roof,” said one of the inventors, architect Marianela Romero from the National University of Río Negro.
The manufacture of the bricks is efficient, said Romero, because they do not need to be fired at high temperatures, which would also create pollution. In addition, “they are good thermal insulators,” Romero told Tierramérica.
Bariloche, in the province of Río Negro, and Villa La Angostura, in neighboring Neuquén, were the cities most severely affected by the millions of tons of volcanic ash and sand resulting from the eruption, which began on Jun. 4, 2011.
Communities Planting Trees
TEGUCIGALPA, Jun 4 (Tierramérica).- The Honduran capital and the southern city of Choluteca are leading up an environmental awareness initiative based on the reforestation of watersheds and other deforested areas.
In Tegucigalpa, the initiative is being promoted by city councilor Doris Gutiérrez, primarily in the district of San Francisco, a slum neighborhood whose inhabitants have planted over 3,000 trees over the past three years for the recovery of green areas and the Los Laureles spring water reserve.
Claudia de Soriano, of the Choluteca Solidarity Foundation, told Tierramérica that this year some 2,500 trees will be planted in the city, including hardwood, fruit and ornamental trees.
Deforestation Continues in Mata Altȃntica
RIO DE JANEIRO, Jun 4 (Tierramérica).- Between May 2010 and May 2011, another 133 sq km of forests were cleared in the already devastated Mata Altȃntica (Atlantic Forest) biome of Brazil, according to data from the SOS Mata Altȃntica Foundation and the National Institute for Aerospace Research.
The rate of deforestation has decreased slightly in comparison with the annual average of 155 sq km recorded between 2008 and 2010. Nevertheless, it is still critically high, because only 7.9 percent of the original forest cover remains of what used to be a vast forested area on the Brazilian coast.
Minas Gerais, in the east, and Bahia, in the northeast, are the states where the greatest amount of deforestation took place in the period studied. In both states, the native forest cover has been replaced by industrial plantations of eucalyptus trees, according to satellite image data.
"The fact that deforestation has continued at roughly the same rate is not good. Moreover, cloud cover frequently gets in the way of satellite monitoring. This means the real situation could be even worse, since some of the cloudiest areas are in fact the most deforested ones,” Marcia Hirota, one of the directors of SOS Mata Altȃntica, told Tierramérica.
The data was released on May 29 in the "Atlas dos Remanescentes Florestais da Mata Atlântica" (Atlas of Forest Remnants in the Atlantic Forest).
Climate Dialogue Forum Created
MEXICO CITY, Jun 4 (Tierramérica).- Five civil society organizations have established a national indigenous-campesino (peasant farmer) roundtable for dialogue and decision making on climate change, deforestation and soil degradation.
“Proposals will be developed based on the criteria and interests of local communities and indigenous peoples, with an emphasis on the right to free, prior and informed consent,” Gisela Flores of the Indigenous Tourism Network of Mexico, one the forum’s founding organizations, told Tierramérica.
The main focus of the forum’s activities is the National REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) Strategy, which the Mexican government is preparing to implement.
Indigenous organizations have denounced that they were not taken into account in the design of this strategy, which includes five pilot projects in the country’s most highly deforested areas. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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