March 6, 2012

Minimising new highway’s threat to rainforest

road_maker_dilwyn_2008_lr.jpgDeep in the Peruvian Amazon, environmentalists prepare to protect rainforest from new inter-oceanic highway

The project Arbio was begun by Michel Saini and Tatiana Espinosa in Madre de Dios, a remote jungle region of Peru’s Amazon which borders Brazil and Bolivia. The project aims to protective an area of vulnerable rainforest against increased encroachment and destructive land use associated with new roads striding through the Amazon.


The recent completion of the Inter-Oceanic Highway connecting Brazil’s Atlantic coast with Peru’s Pacific, brings with it serious potential impacts to the rainforest and the high levels of biodiversity it possesses here.  Arbio is establishing a buffer zone near the road to limit deforestation and land-use change for agriculture.

An Italian Environmental Engineer at the Polytechnic of Milan, Saini and Espinosato, a Peruvian scientist, started the Abrio project in 2010.  Their aim is to support local economies by implementing “productive conservation”, which is the opposite of monoculture since it works with around twenty species of trees per hectare.  This system complements existing forest and takes advantage of non-timber forest products – like Brazil nuts, tropical and wild forest fruits, medicines – and can obviate the need for fertilizer.  At essence, the system is based on ecological considerations and ecosystem restoration.

Wildlife abounds in the rainforest where Abrio works.  Sometimes jaguars are around and tapir and or wild pigs are relatively common as are capybara – the largest rodent in the world – and  deer and a variety of monkeys.

Source: Mongabay


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