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Steel production drives deforestation in Brazil’s Pantanal

Steel production drives deforestation in Brazil’s Pantanal

Steel production drives deforestation in Brazil’s Pantanal
February 11, 2008

A steel mill in Corumbá, in the heart of Brazil’s Pantanal wetland, is fueling destruction of forests for charcoal and undermining the rights of Amazonian forest dwellers, reports the Inter Press Service.

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.

Logging to supply the pig iron industry with charcoal for steel production has long been known to be damaging to Amazon forests, especially in the states of Mato Grosso and Pará. Steel mills have also been associated with gross human rights violations. Investigations by Brazilian authorities have uncovered workers being held in debt-bondage schemes akin to slavery.

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.

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