April 30, 2012
An agreement has been signed between conservation NGOs, a local forestry company (that sold a property within the Yaboti Biosphere Reserve), the provincial Ministry of Environment, the Guarani communities, and WLT-US to permanently protect the Yaboti Biosphere Reserve area in Argentina but allow some sustainable development, such as ecotourism activities. This critical habitat is also home to three communities of Guarani indigenous people who are part of the agreement, and the land will be protected as part of an indigenous reserve.
The Atlantic forest once stretched unbroken from the Atlantic coast in the north of Brazil, south and inland through Paraguay and the Misiones Province of Argentina. Today it is one of the most critically endangered ecoregions in the world, with only 7% of its once vast original forest remaining. The Yaboti Biosphere Reserve, within the Misiones Province of Argentina, is home to 116 mammal species, 548 bird species, 124 amphibian species, and 222 fish species. Protecting the Atlantic Rainforest in the Yaboti Biosphere Reserve is a high priority as although it is called a reserve, much of the land within it is privately owned, and severe habitat destruction is taking place in the area.
This agreement is a landmark step towards effective conservation in the overall Yaboti Biosphere Region including the 9,795 acres that WLT-US supporters assisted in purchasing. The agreement was signed by Viviana Rovira (Minister of Environment), three Guarani Caciques (leaders), and Nicholas Laharrague (Director of Mocona Forestal), who thanked the communities living in the area for working towards a consensual agreement. He also thanked Javier Jiminez Perez and John Burton of World Land Trust for their assistance in reaching this agreement.