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The biggest ecological disaster recorded so far in the forests of South America.
In about 20 days that the Bolivian Amazon (east of Brazil), has been burning, nearly one million hectares of dry forests have been destroyed, producing more than 300 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2-e ))..
Nine out of 10 municipalities in the department of Santa Cruz (Chiquitania region) remain under fire and represent a real threat that the fire will spread across the borders with Brazil, Peru and Paraguay.
Santa Cruz-Bolivia, August of 2019. The voracious fire reportedly going on for more than 20 days in the Eastern part of the Bolivian “Chiquitanian Dry Forest” (Bosque Seco Chiquitano) in the lowlands of Santa Cruz bordering with Brazil and Paraguay, is considered the greatest ecological disaster on record. Official reports by the Departmental Government of Santa Cruz (Gobernación de Santa Cruz) announce the loss of one million hectares of forest land to the fire accounting to 300 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions(tCO2-e),. This amount is equivalent to twice the rate of annual emissions of greenhouse gases generated by economic activities in Bolivia in any single year.
According to Juan Claudio De Oliva Maya, Bolivian, CEO and founder of GreenCloud.io in Costa Rica "the consequences of the voracious fire, are still to be fully determined. Notwithstanding this, even if only in terms of numbers, the greenhouse gases emissions caused by the fire, are comparable to emissions produced by 89.82 million of gasoline-powered cars running in a single year. Thus, worsening in irreparable ways the world´s current climate crisis and promoting the acceleration of the process of global warming".
It is of paramount importance that the world understand and be aware of the magnitude of the loss in terms of biological wealth. Geographically speaking, the “Chiquitanian region” is an area in “ecotonic transition” between the Gran Chaco and Amazonia, i.e. an area that covers more than 2 different ecological communities. This great set of ecosystems covers a surface of more than 20 million hectares, stretching over Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay, and is considered the world's largest tropical dry forest.
It is estimated that Bolivia has approximately 6.3 million hectares of Chiquitanian dry forests, representing 22% of total forest land in the country, which has a total of 53 million hectares of forest.
"In regard to figures, according to the Center for Tropical Agricultural Research (CIAT for its Spanish Acronym), of these 6.3 million hectares of Chiquitano forest, 59% (4,021,438.0 hectares) is made up of the (climate, fauna and flora) biome of tropical dry forests, 35% (2,399,019.0" "hectares) of Amazonian rainforests and just 6% (384,831.0 hectares) of savanna tree-lined forest. The Chiquitania forest is the most dominant tropical dry forest and the most fragile of the world ecosystems, since it takes between 150 to 200 years for each tree in the area, to reach more than 30 cm in diameter", added, Mr. de Oliva Maya, an agricultural engineer.
The Chiquitana savanna contains valuable species of timber trees, including: “tajibo”, momoqui, “morado (purple)”, American oak, among other woods. Most timber species (75%) are of high commercial value making them very attractive to illegal deforestation,
According to the local newspaper "El Deber" recent news, the Chiquitania forest is home to over 500 species identified wildlife or animal life and multiple flora:
● 52 species of trees per hectare
● 69 species of mammals
● 221 species of birds
● 54 species of reptiles
● 50 amphibious species
● 160 species of fish
Where more than 35 species of fauna are endemic in the area and needed to maintain the balance in the ecosystem.
"That is why based on the figures and aforementioned information, we call the attention of the international community to our plea for immediate and urgent international assistance and solidarity to first of all, help people on the ground put out the fires. The Chiquitania dry forests not only provide vital oxigen for the well-being of the Bolivian people, but also to the world. The Chiquitanian forest is also a part of the few remaining “lungs” of the whole world. Immediate support to local institutions and people currently fighting the fires, by the international community is needed. They particularly need technical assistance from those that have the experience and the technological equipment to effectively fight these large scale types of fires. Moreover, the world needs to become aware of the delicate situation in Bolivia and the potential for contagion thus aggravating the climate crisis. After all, the climate crisis that spans our planet”, said also De Oliva Maya.
"In spite of the magnitude of the fires, and the emergency alerts issued by municipal and departmental governments, the Bolivian Government did not take immediate action, it has denied that the situation constitutes a “national emergency”, requiring international assistance thus it is facilitating the entry of international aid. In face of that, the people in Santa Cruz, both at the institutional and individual level, are offering their own humanitarian efforts to help those fighting the fire as well as affected people and animals. Citizens of Santa Cruz are very active also outside the country. However, our own efforts are insufficient in face of the disaster and more so in the face of the lack of coordinated efforts by the central government. In addition, it is important to remind the whole world that the Plurinational State of Bolivia pledged before the Paris Agreement (International Pact on Climate Change) to have zero deforestation by 2020. This is such an irony with the current situation in the country”, ended in De Oliva Maya.
How to help from abroad
The Association of Young Entrepreneurs of Santa Cruz , (La Asociación de Jóvenes Empresarios de Santa Cruz / Juventud Empresa) is a non-profit private institution that was founded 28 years ago in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. It’s mission is to support young entrepreneurs with training, technical assistance, networking and other services. As part of its social responsibility actions, it is participating and promoting humanitarian efforts to help people in Chiquitania. For such purpose, it is receiving donations in kind as well as funds that are to be deposited in a special account in Banco Nacional de Bolivia. The funding will be used to purchase locally the necessary equipment and supplies for voluntary firefighters. Funds will also be used to buy food, medical supplies for both firefighters and affected local communities.
THROUGH AN INTERNATIONAL -INTERMEDIARY BANK, IN EUROPE OR USA
For donation please use:
Credit the following account:
Account Nr.: 2400084796
In the name of: La Asociación de Jóvenes Empresarios de Santa Cruz / Juventud Empresa) “BANCO NACIONAL DE BOLIVIA (BNB)”
SWIFT CODE: BOFAUS3N
Address: Calle Rene Moreno nro.258 (phone: (591 3) 3662777 ),
Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia