Steel production drives deforestation in Brazil's Pantanal
February 11, 2008
According to Alessandro Menezes, head of local environmental group Ecology and Action, the MMX steel mill in Corumbá has been producing pig iron despite being fined and banned for using charcoal illegally-harvested from forests on indigenous lands. MMX continues to operate under a temporary judicial order while the fate of the indigenous territories is being determined.
The charcoal producers are taking advantage of the fact that part of the Kadiweu territory "is in litigation, still occupied by large landowners," despite recognition that it is indigenous land, said Menezes. Also under threat are areas of another native community of the Pantanal, the Terena people, he added.
In Taunay, one of the Terena areas, deforestation has accelerated recently because of the possibility of the future delineation and handover of land to indigenous communities, said Lisio Lili, a Terena Indian and former local leader of the National Indigenous Foundation. Charcoal and cattle are the interests driving the destruction of the forests, he said.
Mario Osava (2008). Pantanal Indians Threatened by Deforestation. Inter Press Service - February 9, 2008
Pantanal, the world's largest wetland, disappearing finds new report
Deforestation has destroyed 17 percent of the Pantanal, the world's largest wetland, according to a new report from Conservation International. The Pantanal, an area of flooded grassland and savanna covering 200,000 square kilometers during the rainy season, includes parts of Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia and is fed by the Rio Paraguay. The wetland is home to some 3500 species of plant and 650 species of birds. About 125 types of mammals, 180 kinds of reptiles, 41 types of amphibians, and 325 species of fish have been found in the region. The Pantanal in an important source of freshwater to neighboring farming areas and downstream urban areas.