Last week the government of Chaco established new restrictions on the development of intensive farming in the Impenetrable, an area in the north of the Gran Chaco extending into Paraguay.
The restrictions include a ban on bulldozers in the area, a huge accomplishment in an ongoing struggle to preserve this region.
This new legislation is the result of the meeting between Governor Jorge Capitanich and representatives of Greenpeace. The meeting came after the environmental group blockaded two bulldozers in the Impenetrable that were found to be holding permits issued by the province that violated national law.
“At last we will have a bulldozer-free Impenetrable. A very important step for the future of the forests of the Chaco and its people. The new requirements obligate small and medium livestock producers to develop native forests and maintaining compliance with the Forest Act,” said Hernán Giardini, coordinator of Greenpeace forest campaign.
The rate of destruction in Gran Chaco has accelerated since 1996, when Monsanto introduced genetically engineered soya beans into Argentina. Since then, the country has extended its agricultural frontiers to grow genetically engineered soya for export as animal feed and fuel, increasingly at the expense of the Gran Chaco.
In addition to a ban on bulldozers, other restrictions include- a 300 hectare limit on permits (of which half must be left as reserve), maintenance of at least 120 trees over 25 cm of diameter on each hectare, and caps on cattle.
Furthermore, each permit must complete the “Provincial Program Impact Assessment of silvopastoral systems on Environmental Services” in order to assess each land parcel with regard to their impact on biodiversity.
“The new restrictions on factory farming is a breakthrough in the defense of the Impenetrable, a valuable forest ecosystem that covers about 4 million hectares of the semiarid Chaco region and home to critically endangered species like the jaguar, the giant armadillo, and the anteater. We will continue to monitor the region to ensure compliance with the Forest Act,” said Giardini.
Greenpeace stated that more than 80,000 Argentines took part in this campaign.
These new restrictions on factory farming is a breakthrough in the defense of the Impenetrable, a valuable forest ecosystem that covers about 4 million hectares of the semiarid Chaco region which is home to endangered species such as the jaguar, the giant armadillo and the anteater, as well as more than 60,000 Indigenous and campesinos.