South America’s Second-Largest Forest Is Also Burning – and ‘Environmentally Friendly’ Charcoal Is Subsidizing Its Destruction

Joel E. Correia

The fires raging across the Brazilian Amazon have captured the world’s attention. Meanwhile, South America’s second-largest forest, the Gran Chaco, is disappearing in plain sight.

The Gran Chaco, which spans from Bolivia and Brazil to Paraguay and Argentina, is extremely bio-diverse, with more than 3,400 plant and 900 animal species – including quebracho blanco trees, tapirs and jaguars. It is also home to at least 30 indigenous peoples, including the Ayoreo, some of whom live in voluntary isolation in their historic homelands, as well Mennonite colonies.

Now, due to the some of the fastest deforestation in the world, this once enormous ecosystem may soon be gone outside of protected areas. Since 2001, more than 31,000 square miles of forest were felled to make way for agriculture and cattle ranching in the Gran Chaco.

Read the original article.