[permaculture] Science warns against drilling the most biodiverse rainforest on Earth – News Watch

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Wed Oct 2 10:07:13 EDT 2013


Science warns against drilling the most biodiverse rainforest on
Earth<http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/10/01/science-warns-against-drilling-the-most-biodiverse-rainforest-on-earth/>

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*By Matt Finer *

The Ecuadorian government is currently racing ahead with plans to drill for
oil in the core of what is arguably the most biodiverse corner of the
planet<http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0008767>:
Blocks 31 and ITT of the famed Yasuní National Park. This new aggressive
push for oil drilling comes as a stunning backlash to the failure of a
6-year initiative seeking international financial compensation in exchange
for leaving the oil permanently underground.

In response, the “Scientists Concerned for Yasuní” – a group of more than
100 scientists from Ecuador and 18 other countries around the world –
submitted a statement to the Ecuadorian Congress detailing the
extraordinary biodiversity of the park and strongly warning against
allowing new oil drilling in its core.  (English and Spanish versions of
the statement appear below.)

According to amphibian expert Shawn McCracken of Texas State University,
“The scientist’s statement details and reaffirms that Yasuní National Park
may very well be the most biodiverse place in the world.”

In a sentiment echoed by long-time primate expert Anthony Di Fiore of the
University of Texas at Austin, “The diversity of Yasuní National Park
really is quite stunning when you realize the extreme richness spans across
all biological groups. From monkeys to birds to amphibians to woody plants,
Yasuní is among the world record holders in almost every category.”

Indeed, Yasuní is a remarkable convergence of global peak diversity levels
of amphibian, bird, insect, mammal, and tree species. This extraordinary
diversity is likely due to the park’s unique and strategic location at the
intersection of the Amazon, the Andes, and the Equator.

In addition to the biodiversity, by targeting the core of the park, the
drilling project also threatens some of the world’s last remaining
indigenous people living in voluntary isolation.

As Stuart Pimm of Duke University notes, “Countless future generations will
not understand why we carelessly destroyed the most biologically diverse
areas of our planet, nor why we destroyed the indigenous cultures of people
who lived in them. Yasuní is exceptionally rich in species and home to
diverse cultures— including some living in voluntary isolation. It’s
protection defends nature and peoples: destroying it would be a particular
tragedy.”

Finally, it is worth noting that several colleagues and I recently
published a peer-reviewed scientific study on the potential of best
practice to minimize the
impacts<http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0063022>of
Amazonian oil drilling. That study laid out the importance of
considering ecological and social factors when deciding where to drill.
Considering impacts to one of the most important protected areas in the
world and its indigenous inhabitants, the core of Yasuní National Park
represents the perfect example of where drilling should not occur.

 English and Spanish versions of the statement
http://www.geoyasuni.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/SCY-2013-Ecuador-Congress.pdf
http://www.geoyasuni.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/SCY-2013-Asamblea-Nacional.pdf


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