UN panel launches study of
controversial Baja saltworks
A controversial plan to build huge salt works at San Ignacio Lagoon on Mexico’s Baja peninsula is drawing more scrutiny, this time from the UN World Heritage Committee.
Meeting last month in Kyoto, Japan, the panel decided to study the $110-million project’s potential impact on whales and other wildlife in and around the lagoon, which is part of the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve—a UN World Heritage site.
Spare Mexican budget spells
environmental spending cuts
Mexico’s Environment, Natural Resources and Fishing Secretariat, or Semarnap, will have 5% less to spend this year than it did last year under Mexico’s 1999 federal budget, considered one of the country’s most austere in modern times.
According to Aaron Gallego, technical secretary of the Chamber of Deputies Ecology and Environment Commission, the cut will leave Semarnap with a budget of $14 million.
Weather can affect Amazon’s
ability to serve as carbon sink
The Amazon rainforest has long been thought to offset global warming by soaking up carbon dioxide, but scientists from the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, believe dry weather can reverse this effect.
A team from the laboratory’s Ecosystems Center says studies conducted over a 14-year period demonstrate that undisturbed parts of the Amazon forest actually add carbon to the atmosphere when El Niño weather patterns bring hot, dry spells to the region.
Argentine company donates
forest land for conservation
A tri-national effort by Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina to consolidate protected areas in the Selva Misionera region of the diminishing Atlantic Forest got a boost when Alto Paraná, an Argentine forest products company, recently contributed 8,450 acres (3,420 hectares) to the effort.
Panama developing new land
use plan for poorest province
Panama’s Ministry of Planning and Economic Policy is undertaking an $88-million project to preserve natural resources while promoting economic development in the country’s largest and poorest province.
Under the project, a new land-use management plan would be implemented for Darien Province, which covers 22% of Panama’s territory and has a fragile ecosystems and inadequate infrastructure.
Discussion slated on regional
efforts to curb global warming
Experiments under way in Latin America to combat climate change may prove useful to both developing and industrialized countries, according to the organizer of an upcoming panel discussion on the topic.
The session is being hosted in Washington Feb. 16 by the nonprofit Forum for Environmental Law, Science, Engineering and Finance, FELSEF.
New books are out on Mexican development and environment
In very different ways, three new books shed light on the challenges Mexico faces in the area of development and the environment.
Author Keith Pezzoli lived for months in Mexico City squatter settlements to research his “Human Settlements and Planning for Ecological Sustainability: The Case of Mexico City.”