San Rafael, March 15, 2010
News March 2010
PRO COSARA has started a new Project financed by the Fund for the Conservation of Tropical Forests
Under accord Nº 1/2.009 signed between the Association Pro Cordillera San Rafael and the Fund for the Conservation of Tropical Forests a project was started and designated "Preservation of the Natural Resources of the San Rafael Reserve and its Environment"; with three components that include monitoring the Reserve, Environmental Education, and Agroforestry and diversification with farming communities.
The specialists working for the project have initiated their activities with plenty of enthusiasm and energy, above all with the pledge to work hard and maintain good management systems of the various activities planned for the duration of the project.
San Rafael Continues to Be In Danger
The San Rafael Reserve continues to be in danger due to the numerous ecological crimes that occur in it. The illegal logging and extraction of wood products is the most serious problem of all, as it occurs in all of the zones of the Reserve that border rural farming communities.
Monitoring of the Protected Area
Through the establishment of Forest Guards, PRO COSARA continues to carry out monitoring of the protected area. The monitoring is carried out jointly with the help of Park Guards of the Secretary of the Environment and Forest Guards of the NGO Guyra Paraguay, with the objective of detecting the most frequent ecological crimes.
The monitoring is reinforced with the help of flyovers in an ultra-light airplane that unfortunately were not done as frequently as planned due to rain and poor weather conditions. Although the weather did not permit more, 8 flyovers were carried out in which the most vulnerable areas were spotted and identified. The information gathered from the flights was presented to the head of Park Guards from Secretary of the Environment.
Environmental Education Program
Adequate conservation of the existing forest depends on investing in educational activities to facilitate a better understanding of the relationships between natural ecosystems and the community. As such, the future of the San Rafael Reserve depends on the environmental education and sensitization that we offer today to boys and girls living near the Reserve.
In 8 elementary schools in the districts of Alto Verá and Itapúa Poty, an ecological competition was carried out with the participation of students from 4-6 grades. Each institution selected their project, of which themes of tree planting, creation and placing of garbage cans, medicinal plant production, creation of gardens and nurseries were chosen.
Each school was evaluated on a monthly basis with PRO COSARA in charge of monitoring the advancement of each project. At the end of the school year, a final evaluation was done to identify the winning school. All of the schools developed their projects with lots of enthusiasm. The schools that won the most points were: San Francisco de Asís of Carumbey, and Fulgencio Yegros of Libertad del Sur. The prize that the winning schools received was the opportunity to participate in an integrity camp that was held at PRO COSARA headquarters on the 12th and 13th of December of 2009.
In addition to the schools that participated in the ecological competition, classroom lectures were given at various other schools in Colonias Unidas and schools in areas that are outside of the buffer zone of the Reserve but still in the region. The lectures were coordinated with the support of other organizations such as WWF, JADECU and Proyecto Aquífero Guaraní. The themes lectured on include the Upper Parana Atlantic Forest, the San Rafael Reserve, the Guaraní aquifer, and the importance of having functioning environmental groups in every community.
Reforestation and Diversification of Crops
The recuperation of plant cover in watersheds and giving advice to populations of farmers about adequate diversification of crops on farms is the most effective form of teaching them to take care of the environment.
Management of Community Nursery
Various community nurseries have been created in the community Libertad del Sur. It is expected that they will serve as model nurseries and additional family nurseries will be created as well. The nurseries are currently in construction, as water tanks and connections for irrigation are installed.
The goal of these nurseries the production of enough seedlings and trees to be commercialized and sold.
Annual Planning Workshop for Producers
A workshop was held in December 2009 with the committee of farmers working on reforestation in Libertad del Sur, with the idea of planning their work activities for 2010. They identified areas to be reforested for the upcoming year, and they will also work to diversify their crops more intensively as well.
Reforestation Results from Previous Years
80,000 tree seedlings have been planted across 80 hectares of land on various family farms in Libertad del Sur. Priority areas for reforestation included watersheds, specifically around Pirapo creek. The results are noticeable as the farmers continue to monitor the reforested areas for tree survival and growth.
Inauguration of the New Administrative Office
In a mark of institutional strengthening, PRO COSARA has opened its new administrative office at the headquarters of FUCAI in Hohenau, Itapua. The motive for creating this office is to further develop the administrative management of Pro Cosara as well as to create infrastructure and greater access to technology. Additionally, the new location of the administrative office creates more opportunities for the people of Colonias Unidas to learn about and have greater access to information on the San Rafael Reserve.