Conservation news

Latam Eco review: Coca threatens world’s best organic coffees

Below are summaries of the most popular stories by our Spanish language service, Mongabay Latam, from the week of May 7 -13. Among the top articles: the assassination of two activists who opposed the Hidroituango hydroelectric project revives the debate around megaprojects in Colombia. In other news, centuries-old trees cut for parquet floors in Peru, and one of the best organic coffees in the world is threatened by coca crops.

The image above from the vast Mongabay archive, of a Rhetus periander butterfly in Manu National Park in Peru, was the most popular on Latam’s social networks

Colombia: The death of Hugo and Luis, two leaders who fought against Hidroituango

Hidroituango will be the largest hydroelectric plant in the history of Colombia. Image courtesy of EPM.

In less than a week, two environmental defenders were assassinated in northwest Colombia. They were fighting Hidroituango, the largest hydroelectric project in the country. Six members of the Living River Movement of Antioquia department have been assassinated; 63 have received death threats. Eleven cases of dam breaks have caused the mass evacuation of more than 700 families.

Tatiana Espinosa: “When you are in the city, you can’t imagine what is in the Amazon.”

Forest engineer Tatiana Espinosa leads the Arbio Peru project, a forest conservation project in the Peruvian Amazon recognized by the Jane Goodall Hope and Inspiration Ranger Award. Image courtesy of Arbio Peru

Shihuahaucos are majestic, long trees, whose trunks can take up to 800 years to grow barely a meter in diameter. “To think that the tree was already here a thousand years ago, and they just cut it down so that they can have parquet floors in houses in the cities,” says Tatiana Espinosa, a forest engineer and winner of the Jane Goodall Hope and Inspiration Ranger Award. She works to save centuries-old shihuahaco trees among others in the 916 hectares of forest in Tambopata, the most deforested region of Peru.

Global Big Day: Colombia places first in eBird registries

Colombia won first place in Global Big Day with 1546 bird species reported. Image by Rodrigo Gaviria Obregón, Fundacion Aiunau.

With more than 1500 bird species registered, for the second time, Colombia won first place in the birding competition. Peru placed second with 1491 registered species. Overall, more than 28,000 people around the world participated in this global event, with a total of 1.6 million bird sightings on the eBird portal, the largest database in the world.

Peru: Coca crops replace one of the best organic coffees in the world

Since 2012, illegal coca crops have taken over territory once dedicated to the cultivation of one of the best coffees in the world.

Tunki coffee, one of the best organic grains in the world could disappear. Of more than 8400 hectares dedicated to coffee cultivation in the jungles of Puno, Peru, in 2012, only 2330 remain. In the same period, illegal coca crops grew more than 50% to 2900 hectares. Cecovasa, the region’s association of coffee cooperatives, could end due to low production, which has dropped from 85,000 to 6,000 quintals.

An earthquake in Alaska triggers rare fish to spawn in Nevada

Devils Hole pupfish. Image courtesy of the U.S. National Park Service.

An earthquake in Alaska affected one of the rarest fish in the world that inhabit an underwater cavern in Nevada. Devils Hole is the only natural habitat known of the Devils Hole pupfish. Immediately following the post-quake waves, the fish began to spawn.

Esmeraldas: mining in northeast Ecuador full speed ahead

In the province of Esmeraldas, mining leads deforestation ahead of fine wood timber, African palm cultivation and land conflicts. Image courtesy of the Mining, Social and Environmental Observatory of North Ecuador.

In Esmeraldas, one of the most isolated and impoverished regions of the country, mining continues to poison rivers and forests. Facing organized crime, former FARC rebels, and pollution, the Awá indigenous nation fights for its territories.




Read about these stories in Spanish here.