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Biological Corridors

The concept of a biological or ecological corridor entails preserving the connections between protected areas with important biodiversity with the aim of preventing the fragmentation of natural habitats. Today these corridors are being promoted as an innovative way to promote sustainable development as well as conservation.

A search for information on the Internet about this type of natural conservation project shows that the most talked about initiative today is the Meso-American Biological Corridor, which covers the countries of Central America and the southern Mexican states. But it is not the only effort of this kind.

There are natural corridor projects under way in Brazil's Amazon and Atlantic forests, in the Andean zones of Ecuador (in Spanish) and Peru, and some smaller initiatives in Argentina and the United States. While most of the biological corridors mentioned on the Internet are located in the Americas, other regions are following this route, such as in the Black Sea region and in Bhutan.

A web site that explains the term "corridor", as it is used in the biological sense, states that this nomenclature dates back to the 1930s, though it was not until the 1960s that it was proposed as a way of uniting nature preserves or other areas to protect species diversity.

The corridors should permit an increase in the size and possibilities for survival of the smaller populations of species, according to the web site. But to be effective, these corridors must be well designed.

The fundamental goal of biological corridors is the conservation of ecosystems.

A Brazilian web page states that corridors encompass areas of exceptional biodiversity. One such case is the Brazilian Atlantic forest, where a project has found that ecosystems there have become "islands of nature". The challenge of the corridors "is to re-establish interconnection".

In the case of the Meso-American Biological Corridor, emphasis is on preserving a relatively small area that is nevertheless home to a great diversity of plant and animal species.

Meso-American Biological Corridor (In Spanish)
World Bank Group: Pilot Program to Conserve Brazilian Rain Forest
Ecuadorian Biological Corridor (In Spanish)
World Bank and Mexico in Biological Corridor
Black Sea Ecological Corridor
Proposal for Ecological Corridor in Puerto Rico
Towards a Definition of Biological Corridor
Biological Corridors in Bhutan

UN Conferences and Summits

The international conferences and summits convened by the United Nations generate intense mobilization around issues of global interest. On the current agenda are two major gatherings, one about sustainable development, the other about the information society.

These meetings, which draw diverse participants ranging from activists of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to heads of state, reached a peak in the 1990s, but continue in the 21st century: at the end of August 2002 begins the World Summit on Sustainable Development, in Johannesburg, and slated for 2003 is the World Summit on the Information Society.

The UN, which informs the world about some of these gatherings on its web site "conferences and events", defends the importance of such conferences for their capacity to bring attention to crucial socio-economic issues, guide national policies, generate debate and the search for consensus on global issues, and to establish goals that governments commit themselves to achieving.

The main criticisms about these events are based precisely on the fact that often the promises go ignored, and the scant number of commitments made at the outset.

These conferences have their own customs: they are preceded by a preparatory process to establish some level of consensus among governments. The process includes the active participation of NGOs, the presentation of an enormous number of documents and intense logistical efforts to handle the thousands of participants. In the end, the governments sign political declarations and plans of action.

In 1990, the importance of these meetings came to light with the World Summit for Children, in which 71 heads of state participated, an unprecedented number, until the 1992 Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro, which drew 108 national leaders and delegations from 170 countries.

The achievements made since the 1992 Earth Summit will be studied at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+10. A decade on, the degree of government compliance with the commitments made is not very encouraging.

But there are those who put a positive spin on it: the Rio Summit 10 years ago laid out a concept that since then has permeated the international debates on the future of our society, about sustainable development. In reality, the greatest doubts surround the results of the Rio+10 Summit itself, because the preparatory process did not produce the expected consensus.

The Internet holds information bout these and other conferences, including lists that give an idea of the events organized in recent years, and summaries about their outcomes.

United Nations: Conferences and Events
1990 Children's Summit
1992 Earth Summit
World Summit on Sustainable Development
World Summit on the Information Society


Dengue has become a health problem for tropical areas of Latin America over the last several decades. But this disease, cause by four types of virus transmitted by a mosquito, has been known for centuries.

The viruses -- with the scientific labels DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4 -- can cause different manifestations of dengue, the most serious form being hemorrhagic dengue, which can be mortal.

The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) has deployed intense operations to aid countries in their battles against the epidemic. On the Internet is a website that serves as the PAHO's center of operations, providing information about the traits of the disease and its presence in the region.

According to the history of dengue in the Americas included on the PAHO site, the disease is believed to have first appeared in 1635 on Martinique and Guadalupe. In the 18th century, dengue epidemics were recorded in the United States, Asia and Africa, and later in Peru.

The resurgence of dengue in recent times, which has hit Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil, and more recently El Salvador and Honduras, is directly related to the proliferation of the virus's vector of transmission, the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

This mosquito species is at home in the urban environment and its presence is reinforced by phenomena like the growth of metropolitan areas and the deterioration of sanitary conditions. The campaigns against dengue are focused on eradication of the Aedes aegypti.

According to figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), the scope of dengue infection has risen dramatically in recent decades and is now an endemic disease in more than 100 countries, endangering some 2.5 billion people.

The Internet holds abundant information about dengue, such as websites with frequently asked questions, explanations about symptoms and treatment, and even lists of health experts dedicated to combating the disease.

Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO): Dengue
PAHO: History of Dengue in the Americas
World Health Organization: Dengue
WHO: DengueNet
U.S. Centers for Disease Control
Microscope view of dengue virus



Copyright © 2001 Tierramérica. Todos los Derechos Reservados



. Crédito: Carlos Ravazzani/
Credit: Carlos Ravazzani/









































Aedes aegypti. Source: US CDC
Aedes aegypti. Source: US CDC