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In The Gran Chaco,
Paraguay

Photo: Matías Rebak

Exploring The Gran Chaco

Nestled between the Paraguay River to the east and the formidable Andes to the west lies Gran Chaco.

 

Spanning around 1.000.000 square kilometers across parts of Argentina (55%), Bolivia (25%), Paraguay (20%) and Brazil (5%). 

Despite its status as one of the continent's hottest regions, with temperatures often surpassing +50°C. 

Gran chaco

The Gran Chaco boasts over 50 unique ecosystems, each defined by distinct vegetation and climate patterns, fostering remarkable local biodiversity.

However, it's under threat from expanding agriculture and livestock, hunting, and climate change, demanding urgent action.

Adapted from " El Chaco, un territorio maravilloso" by USAID and Alianza, 2021"Revista alianza para el desarrollo sostenible

What is happening in the Gran Chaco?

The Gran Chaco region, the second-largest forest in South America, is currently experiencing a severe deforestation crisis. Every month, an area exceeding 350 square kilometers, equivalent to 21,000 football fields, is lost, and it is projected that millions more hectares of native vegetation will disappear by 2030.

The primary drivers of deforestation in the Gran Chaco are associated with the livestock industry, which supplies the meat, dairy, and leather sectors.

Cattle truck in the Paraguay Chaco

Cattle trucks in the Paraguayan Chaco destined for slaughterhouses, 2019 © Earthsight

Chaco paraguay

The weak environmental legislation, inadequate enforcement, and the absence of comprehensive legal forest protections, coupled with the lack of a traceability infrastructure for the livestock sector in the country, pose significant challenges to conservation efforts in the region.

Paraguay, in particular, is witnessing one of the highest deforestation rates globally, primarily due to the rapid expansion of cattle ranching, especially in the western Chaco region.

Illegal deforestation at a ranch inside PNCAT, 2019 © Earthsight

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