Assessing banks’ role in deforestation of Gran Chaco


Paraguay’s portion of the Gran Chaco has increasingly been converted into pasturelands, such as those bracketing this dirt road serving Mennonite cattle ranchers near the town of Filadelfia. (Photo by Maloff/Shutterstock)

As the European Union prepares to limit imports of goods whose production contributes to deforestation, attention has rightly focused on lax land-use controls in Latin America’s beef- and grain-exporting countries. But research underscores that permissive international finance is part of the problem, too. That message looms large in “Cash, Cattle and the Gran Chaco,” a report released in March by Global Witness, the United Kingdom-based research and advocacy nonprofit. The Global Witness’s report focuses on rampant deforestation driven by expanded cattle-ranching in Paraguay’s portion of the Gran Chaco, the semi-arid lowland also shared by Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil. Home to South America’s largest woodland expanse outside of the Amazon, the Gran Chaco encompasses forest, wetlands, and savanna that serve as habitat for jaguars, armadillos, giant anteaters and other threatened species. It is also home to some 40 Indigenous groups whose territory is coming under ever... [Log in to read more]

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