this area was all forest impenetrable forest recalls Gustavo Cano mayor of the municipality of Raúl Peña whose urban center with a perimeter of just 66 hectares looks like a tiny raft floating in an ocean of crops soybean wheat and corn In this immensity of crops with various geometric shapes small islands of trees and few rural communities inhabited by a few farming families are dying they are just over 9000 inhabitants in a territory of 22500 hectares of which 13000 are largescale agricultural land according to the 2016 census Before it had many more inhabitants.
This small district of the department of Alto in Paraguay is just one example of how in the last 20 years large bulldozers iron bulldozers with blades up to seven meters long and three meters wide and powerful chainsaws uprooted and cut trees plants and bushes in thousands of municipalities and city halls of this country Brazil and Argentina settled on the fertile lands of the river basin The hectares of crops cattle breeding and foreign exchange in this area skyrocketed at the same time that the loss of biodiversity the rural population and the flow of water from hundreds of streams lakes and rivers accelerated alarmingly.
The rapid expansion of the agricultural and livestock frontier is devastating the forests jungles and closed areas of the Paraná hydrographic region and its ecosystem a gigantic basin of 1510 million hectares distributed in these three South American countries and through which flows the second longest river in the region Between 2001 and 2021 that area lost 15 million hectares of forest cover which represents practically the entire territory of Uruguay and is equivalent to 235 million soccer fields This is revealed by a data analysis made with an automated detection algorithm by the Data to locate the areas of forest cover loss in the basin
The stain of the agricultural frontier in the basin has reached historic levels It began to expand around 1960 and continues to grow steadily Today it is an immense space of more than 47 million hectares of extensive agriculture and at least 90 million hectares of cattle pasture that occupy parts of 11 Argentine provinces seven Brazilian states and eight Paraguayan departments The greatest loss of forest cover was before 2001 but after that year deforestation continued unabated despite the speeches and global policies to stop it and to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases that increase the temperature of the planet.
The deforestation of forests and jungles has been driven by the hunger of the global market for the food produced in this area and facilitated by the weak environmental laws of Argentina Brazil and Paraguay In addition it may imply that paradoxically the very companies that promote the economy are digging their own grave in one of the richest ecosystems in South America According to experts consulted the aggressive clearing of the last two decades revealed by this research has contributed to the modification of the rain cycle and with it has aggravated the recent drought in the basin region which decreased the flow of the River and its lakes streams and tributary rivers.