Story By: Jonathan Macias, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
These images show how around 14,900 hectares of forest have been destroyed to make way for farming in Argentina during the country’s coronavirus lockdown after the president said deforestation was “essential”.
According to the environmental organisation Greenpeace, 14,900 hectares of forest were destroyed between 15th March and 31st May at a rate of 200 hectares a day.
Argentine President Alberto Fernandes reportedly launched a decree on 3rd April that classified “activities related to forest production, distribution and commercialisation” as essential for the economy during the lockdown which began on 20th March.
Greenpeace Forest campaign coordinator Hernan Giardini told Newsflash: “The deforestation monitoring that we have done with satellites has shown us that during the lockdown in our country around 15,000 hectares were removed.
“More than half were in Santiago del Estero, 3,000 in Formosa, 2,500 in Salta, and 1,700 in Chaco approximately.
“These four provinces have seen 80 percent of the deforestation in the country in the last 30 years because of the advance of farming and soy harvests that end up being exported to Europe and China.
“We have lost 8 million hectares in the last 30 years which is approximately the size of Scotland.”
The snaps show some of the satellite images gathered by Greenpeace to monitor deforestation between March and May where it areas of forest have been turned into cropland.
Greenpeace activist Noemi Cruz told local media: “It is a destructive activity, that does not bring a lot of wealth to the regions. The economic profits are not left here.”
Local media reported that deforestation of the forests affects local indigenous communities who have lived in the rural areas for a long time and end up being expelled to urban areas.
Cacique Sabino Benitez who is a member of the local Mbya Guarani indigenous community in the province of Misiones told local media: “We are going to put our own bodies on the line to stop deforestation. Indigenous culture, our health, education and fulfilment is inside the forest.”
Greenpeace also warns that deforestation in Argentina leads to a deterioration of biodiversity and severe flooding after heavy rains.
The ViralTab page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.