ASUNCION – A group of US scientists will study the situation of the Upper Parana Atlantic Forest in eastern Paraguay on the border with Brazil to analyze its eight protected areas and establish an action plan to preserve it, authorities announced on Tuesday in Asuncion.
The Upper Parana Atlantic Forest covers more than 1.7 million hectares (some 4.25 million acres) in different Paraguayan provinces – as well as in Brazilian and Argentine territory – and is characterized by its unique mammalian and bird species as well as its botanical diversity, including Parana pines and tajy (black lapacho), the national tree of Paraguay.
However, to date no common indicators have been developed to compare the preservation or disappearance of the forest’s fauna and flora.
“This is the first time this is being done systematically. One of the main problems we have on the world level is that there are studies here and there, with various indicators, but they are not methodologically comparable in real time,” the director of the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute, Francisco Dallmeier, told EFE.
Establishing comparable standards is the aim of the Smithsonian scientists who have come to Paraguay and who will provide support to the experts of the Binational Itaipu dam, which launched the project and on Tuesday presented it to the media.
The US biologists’ mission in the South American country will last two weeks, but studying the eight protected areas will take more time.
“There will be results two or three months after analyzing each of the areas, that is, in two or two-and-a-half years we’ll be able to have (final) results,” Dallmeier said.
The experts will combine “typical biological techniques with modern techniques” such as recording forest sounds since using such material “one can know what animals are there in dry (or) rainy periods,” he added.
Once the study is completed, the experts will propose a series of actions to Paraguayan authorities to protect the species of fauna and flora in the forest, reduce the effect of invasive species and contribute to helping the spread of those that are disappearing.