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Environmental Issues in Argentina


Argentina is a country rich in geographical diversity and is the world leader in setting voluntary greenhouse gas targets. However, Argentina is by no means a saint to the environment, demonstrated by its gross overuse of plastic bags, ineffective recycling methods and controversies over its deforestation and indigenous displacement. 

Today, only 30% of the country's original forest remains. Levels of deforestation have been linked to the increased marketing conditions of soya, leading many farmers to clear vast areas of forest in order to farm the profitable bean. This is to the detriment of both indigenous land rights and communities.

The northern province of Santiago del Estero has been particularly affected by deforestation. According to official statistics, between 2002 and 2006, more than 500,000 hectares were deforested to make way for genetically modified soybeans, Argentina's main export crop. This resulted in not only destroying Argentina's rich biodiversity but also in undermining the rights and existence of indigenous communities residing in Santiago del Estero.

In 2008, a group of local farmers responded to the problem by publishing a newspaper which focused on the suffering of local farming communities under threat from the expansion of soybean farming. El Ashpulitu, meaning "full of earth", is written in the indigenous language of Quechua and is distributed to nearby towns as a way to raise awareness to the affects of deforestation and their concerns over water shortages, violent land evictions and arbitrary arrests by police. It continues to fight against deforestation and for the rights of indigenous people.


Endangered species

Thanks to its rich biodiversity, Argentina offers an elaborate playground for over 320 species of mammal. However, of these, 27 are considered endangered. These include the ruddy headed goose and the Argentinean pampas deer. An uncertain future also exists for Patagonia's Magellanic penguins of Punta Tombo. Reports have shown that breeding pairs have declined and the marine environment in which they live is in trouble due to over fishing and oil poisoning. Climate change and food shortages also jeopardize the future of the birds. 

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Argentina: Safety, Tips for Mid-Range Travelers , Safety, Argentine Music , Beers at the End of the World, Highlights, Getting To and Away, When to Go, Useful Argentine Slang and The Economy of Argentina: Today.

By Abigail Foulkes
I`m living in Quito and working for Viva having just enjoyed three months traveling in South America. I love music and play the guitar and flute...
30 Apr 2009

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