RIO DE JANEIRO - Turtle ranching,
in some cases for meat exports, is on the rise in
the northwestern Brazilian state of Amazonas, where
there are 69 entrepreneurs working with the green
light from the Brazilian Institute for Environment
(IBAMA), a government agency.
An IBAMA action plan, using research and development
centers, aims to build the chain of production for
this new livestock, with sectors for reproduction,
butchering and processing.
The turtle ranches would supply restaurants, thus
reducing illegal hunting, and have been encouraged
by IBAMA for the past two years with donations of
recently hatched young turtles.
It is a promising new business, but still has many
deficiencies. The turtle ranches only fatten up the
reptiles, they don't have reproduction programs, and
are far from meeting demand, so unsustainable and
illegal poaching continues, Amazon turtle expert Juarez
Pezzuti, from the Federal University of Pará, told
CHILE: Forest Monitoring
SANTIAGO - The Chilean forestry
research institute, INFOR, announced on Jun. 21 that
it is creating an environmental monitoring network
for the country's forests, thanks to two projects
that demanded state investment of one million dollars.
These projects paved the way for setting up forest
monitoring bases in Chile's southern rural areas,
where most of the forestry resources are concentrated,
said INFOR director Roberto Ipinza.
New technologies and equipment will make it possible
to expand the network to the rest of the country,
and a forestry map is already available on the Internet
at www.mapaforestal.cl, said Ipinza.
There one can find ''basic information about the existence
and potential of forest resources associated with
native ecosystems in the ninth and tenth regions (in
the south), which are essential for planning resource
use with the perspectives of ecological, social and
economic balance,'' the INFOR director added.
CUBA: Drought Forces Survival
HAVANA - The persistent drought
that has hit most of Cuba's rural areas has forced
farmers and ranchers to seek alternatives for the
survival of their animals, which are suffering shortages
of water and adequate pastures.
In the central province of Ciego de Avila, the use
of sugarcane and fruit (oranges and grapefruit) waste
as animal feed is on the rise.
In the eastern province of Las Tunas, the reduced
water reserves prompted the digging of 146 new wells
and construction of 38 windmills to supply water to
Official data obtained by Tierramérica indicate that
in Cuba 3,400 water sources for livestock have dried
up, most of which were found in the area extending
from the central province of Camagüey to the eastern
tip of the island in Guantánamo province.
VENEZUELA: River Threatens
CARACAS - A 20-meter gap opened
in the cement channel that guides the Guaire River
through the Venezuelan capital, and its waters, polluted
by the sewage from slum neighborhoods has come into
contact with the wall that sustains the canal and
the main highway through Caracas.
Recent torrential rains triggered the damage, and
big stones and cement blocks have been placed in the
hole to prevent the collapse of the highway, used
by tens of thousands of vehicles every day.
As part of the emergency effort, the river will be
diverted 3.5 meters to a branch in southwest Caracas
''It is a serious problem because the gap can only
be repaired when dry season begins, in October. And
for now the rains continue,'' an Environment Ministry
spokesperson told Tierramérica.
TEGUCIGALPA - Ten Honduran provinces
will be part of a Latin American project to produce
organic fertilizer and thus reduce pollution, Agriculture
Minister Mariano Jiménez told Tierramérica.
The project is an initiative of the Latin American
network for appropriate technologies and will be implemented
in 45 municipalities through micro-enterprise involved
in waste recycling, and will begin this year, said
These micro-businesses will generate local jobs and
produce organic fertilizer from waste that is recycled
using appropriate, non-polluting technologies. The
government says 1,500 direct jobs will be created.
Jiménez said that before launching the project there
will be training for the micro-enterprises so that
''the use of environmentally friendly techniques also
reduces the rate of illness in the region and raises
GUATEMALA: Fewer Forest
GUATEMALA CITY - Guatemala recorded
368 forest fires from January to early June of this
year, just half the 731 that occurred in the same
period in 2003.
''We were able to reduce forest fires by 50 percent,
and 91 percent less of the forests were burned,''
Eduardo González, head of the presidential secretariat,
''This year 7,000 hectares of forest were burned,
while last year the total was 83,000,'' said the official,
who coordinated the state and private institutions
entrusted with disaster prevention plans.
''An important factor,'' he said, ''was that the rains
began earlier this year, putting out some of the fires
in Petén,'' the country's biggest department, and
which holds more than 21,000 square kilometers of
González noted that of the fires reported this year,
just 30.8 percent affected protected areas.