El Diario reports:
As estimated by the Chiquitania Foundation
- The devastating fire in the Chiquitana region, coupled with deforestation and fragmentation of natural ecosystems, affected more than 40 million trees with commercial value
- The observatory maintains that part of the forest production land favored livestock and agriculture that resorted to inadequate clearing and “slash-and-burn” practices
After the forest fires, the waters suffered pollution from the fire and will delay in their recovery, meanwhile agriculture and livestock will suffer short-term effects.
The devastating fire in Chiquitania, added to deforestation and fragmentation of natural ecosystems, caused direct damage to more than 40 million trees with commercial value, considering an average of 80 specimens/hectare in an estimated 500 thousand hectares affected by fire, which represents in economic terms a potential loss for the national economy of more than 1,140 million dollars, according to estimates of the Foundation for the Conservation of the Chiquitano Forest [FCBC].
The Chiquitano Dry Forest has not evolved with fire. There are very few plant species adapted to burning, but as an ecosystem, it is highly sensitive and vulnerable to recurrent and extensive fires.
The Foundation, departs from the Permanent Forest Production Lands (TPFP-DS 26075) and argues that part of the land benefited livestock and agriculture, using inadequate clearing and “slash-and-burn” practices, with fire as a means for grass renewal in cattle farms and/or for the habilitation of soils for production.
With regard to wild animals and species, the Foundation reports that there is direct death of all wildlife and risk for more than 1,200 species, of which 43 are amphibians, 140 reptiles, 788 birds and 242 mammals.
Also affected are food sources, breeding sites and shelter for all wildlife, so that after the fire crisis has passed, the impact on the diversity of animals will be greater and more widespread over time.
Bolivian Thoughts opinion: Despite this nightmare, it is comforting to find out institutions like the FCBC, who provide with sound technical advice on the region. The FCBC was funded by the first private natural gas pipeline from Bolivia to Cuiaba, Brazil. GasOriente Boliviano (GOB) had as its owners Shell and Enron, together with some of the best environmental local and international NGOs started this Foundation. At the time (year 2000) of the pipeline construction, GOB was frequently charged with allegations that the environment of the dry forest was going to be compromised … the right of way of the pipeline was reforested with indigenous species from the Chiquitano forest, taking into consideration the density of those species, etc., a superb work, first in its nature for Bolivia, was conducted by professionals of the Museum of Natural History, Noel Kempff Mercado. After the fire, whoever is in charge of restoring the Chiquitano Dry Forest, must look at this evidence work and try to replicate it.