Friday, November 19, 2010

TWO VIEWS OF THE PANTANAL





And from Wikipedia,

"[Brazil's] Pantanal ecosystem is also thought to be home to 1000 bird species, 400 fish species, 300 mammalian species, 480 reptile species and over 9000 different subspecies of invertebrates."

THREATS TO THE PANTANAL

The Pantanal region includes essential sanctuaries for migratory birds, critical nursery grounds for aquatic life, and refuges for such creatures as the black caiman, deer, and jaguar.

The main human activities which threaten the Pantanal ecosystems are:

Cattle-ranching

Approximately 99% of the land in the Pantanal is privately owned for
the purpose of agriculture and ranching

There are 2500 fazendas in the region and up to eight million cattle.

Erosion and sedimentation caused by this activity alter the soil and
hydrological characteristics of Pantanal flood-plain ecosystems with
the consequence that native species are threatened by the change in
ecosystem variables.

Uncontrolled tourism and over use of natural resources.

Commercial fishing

Fishing is focused on only a few species and is probably not sustainable.

National and international sport fishing

The Paraguay river and its tributaries are the main focus for fishing
activities.

Hunting and smuggling of endangered species

Reptile, wild cat and parrot species are particularly at risk from the
smuggling industry due to their high value on the black market.

Deforestation

Deforestation is more relevant to elevated areas of the Pantanal which
contain forest stands than low-land grassy areas.

Silt run-off from deforested highlands alters soil hydrology and is a
significant threat to the Pantanal.

Mercury pollution from gold mining operations

The Pantanal is a natural water treatment system system as it removes
chemicals, including pollutants, from water. However, over-pollution from
industrial development (especially gold mining) can harm native flora and
fauna.

Pollution from agro-industrial plants

Water quality in the Pantanal was not significantly impacted as
of 2002

Recent high flooding has caused inundation of cultivated areas
surrounding the park. The receding flood waters carried large amounts of
pesticides back into the rivers and lakes, killing a great number of fish.

Pollution from sewage systems

Development of land for transport (shipping canals and raised roads)

The proposed plan to dredge the Paraguay and Parana Rivers to allow
ocean-going ships to travel further inland is of particular concern and
could affect the hydrology (flooding and drainage cycles) of the region,
and therefore impact the ecosystem.

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