Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Award for conservation alliance in Misiones, Argentina

25 April, 2013 - 15:24 -- World Land Trust
Photograph of a waterfall in the Atlantic Rainforest of Misiones
Photograph of girl from Guarani tribe

A ground breaking conservation alliance in Misiones province has been honoured with an environmental award in Argentina.

The award celebrates a multicultural alliance facilitated by international conservation charity, World Land Trust (WLT), which works to save critically threatened tropical forests across the world.

As a result of the alliance, 9,301 acres (3,764 hectares) of critically threatened Atlantic Rainforest (also known as Lot 8) have been protected, along with the traditional way of life of the indigenous Guarani communities that live in the area.

Rainforest tribute dinner

The award was presented in San Ignacio, Argentina, on 19 April 2013 at a dinner to celebrate the importance of the Paraná Atlantic Forest for Misiones.

The dinner, which is to become an annual event, was held in a spectacularly beautiful venue on the banks of the Paraná River.

Javier Jimenez Perez, WLT’s negotiator throughout the past year, attended the dinner, and accepted the award on behalf of the Trust and Argentine conservation organisation FuNaFu.

The Governor of Misiones Province was present throughout the event, and his remarks made clear the strategic importance the forest has for the society of Misiones. Three Guarani caciques were guests of honour, and John Burton, WLT’s Chief Executive, sent congratulations by video link.

The Governor of Misiones acknowledged the role played by John and the World Land Trust team, with a message of appreciation: “Tell John we need to repeat what we have done, but on a larger scale, and that we are indebted to World Land Trust.”

Illegal hunters arrested

A few days before the award was announced, on 13 April, a group of six Brazilian hunters were apprehended inside the Yabotí Biosphere Reserve.

The hunters, who were armed with rifles and ammunition, entered Argentina illegally across the border with Brazil.

The arrests were made following a concerted effort by rangers, police and government officials, culminating in a personal intervention by the Governor of Misiones, who sent a helicopter to evacuate the hunters.

This is the third joint operation carried out by rangers and a special police task force, and a great example of how the operational capacity of the Ministry of Ecology to protect the Yabotí Reserve is improving.

Conservation Plan approved

Meanwhile, in another piece of good news, the Argentine Ministry for Environment and Sustainable Development has approved a proposal for a Conservation Plan for Lot 8, Misiones Province.  This is a milestone for both indigenous people and conservationists working to support social and environmental biodiversity in Misiones.

The Framework Agreement for the Sustainable Use of Lot 8, signed by the four parties on 16 April 2012 (Ministry of Environment of Misiones Province, the representatives of the three Guarani communities living in the forest, a representative of the titleholder of the land and FuNaFu), included a commitment from all parties to create a Sustainable Management Plan (or Conservation Plan).

The purpose of the conservation plan is to protect both the natural environment and the rights and traditional way of life of indigenous communities in Lot 8 of Yabotí Biosphere Reserve in San Pedro Department.

The plan recognises the potential for small scale ecotourism. During the first year a series of workshops will build consensus and ensure that the final plan meets the needs of all parties.

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