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The fires in the Amazon have already been going on for about a month. The largest rainforest in the world continues to burn as a result of human actions, affecting thousands of animals and plants and more than 34 million people, including around 500 indigenous peoples.
In addition, given that the Amazon plays an important role in climate regulation in South America, the effects of the fires will exacerbate the climate crisis due to carbon emissions from the burning of organic matter. The damaged areas will be more vulnerable to droughts, floods and other effects of climate change, due to the lack of vegetation cover.
But the Amazon rainforest is not the only one in danger. Forest fires are generally associated with deforestation due to the expansion of agricultural activity and Argentina is no exception.
The data on deforestation in our country and its implications are alarming. Between 1982 and 2016 we lost 25% of our native forests due to agricultural activities. The lack of planning to combine production with protection of the environment led not only to the loss of forests, but also to a decrease in the quality of soils due to water erosion and an increase in extreme weather events, such as floods, with high social and economic costs. . Some estimates indicate that there were approximately 2,400 evacuees and 7,500 families affected in the Chaco province and more than 3,500 in Formosa during this year's floods, as well as 2 million productive hectares affected.
What can we do to stop this?
At Fundación Vida Silvestre we are convinced that the Forest Law is, without a doubt, one of the best tools to deal with this problem. However, since its implementation, the Forest Law could never have its full budget: since 2013 the funds allocated have not exceeded 10% of what would correspond. If the corresponding funds were allocated, the provinces would have the necessary tools to comply with their territorial regulations and guarantee environmental protection for the enrichment, restoration, conservation, use and sustainable management of native forests, and the environmental services they provide to the society.
Compliance with the funds provided for by the Law is the responsibility of the National State when putting together the National Budget project, which is the product of negotiation with the provincial states. It is also the responsibility of the national Deputies and Senators, who must sanction it. That is, in both instances, it is necessary to ensure the inclusion of the corresponding amount in the national budget for the application of the Forest Law.
For this reason, once again, from Fundación Vida Silvestre we express our concern regarding the historical under-financing suffered by Law 26,331 on Minimum Budgets for Environmental Protection of Native Forests and we reiterate the request to our representatives for a full allocation of funds for 2020 and a correct implementation of said Law.
We need to stop deforestation, because while it continues, we will continue to lose forests, cultures, biodiversity, environmental services and opportunities for real sustainable development. On Amazon Day we do not forget our native forests and we demand their protection and conservation.
The Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina is a non-governmental, public good and non-profit organization, created in 1977. Its mission is to propose and implement solutions to conserve nature, promote the sustainable use of natural resources and responsible behavior in a climate change context. Since 1988 it has been associated with and represents WWF in Argentina, one of the largest independent conservation organizations in the world, present in 100 countries. For more information: www.vidasilvestre.org.ar